Monday 05 May, 2014
What’s everybody doing on their smartphones these days? Chances are, they’re on Facebook or Twitter. Social media is quickly becoming the number one activity on smartphones and the number of social media users is on the rise as well. Experts expect Facebook to reach over one billion users by the end of 2012.
This is a fact that’s not lost on cyber-criminals. Until now, they’ve targeted PCs and their known weaknesses. According to AVG’s Community Powered Threat Report from the first quarter of 2012, social networks are quickly becoming the way cyber-crooks spread malware.
A False Sense of Security
One of the great advantages of social media for cyber criminals is the false sense of security we have using them. We all know that there are dodgy websites out there and things you don’t want to download, but what if a friend recommends a link to you? How about if somebody requests to be your friend and you’re not sure you know them, but you’ve got several mutual friends so you accept? We trust social media networks and they’re banking on that trust.
Apple Is Not Immune to Malware
This comes after a piece of malware took the Apple world by storm. Apple users have for a long time assumed that their computers were impervious to malware. The fact is that they actually were pretty close. This is one of the reasons the company has such loyal, rabid fans. But cyber criminals have finally figured out how to exploit Apple’s programming weaknesses. The AVG report found that Apple’s Android devices were the most likely to be targeted.
The Threat to Businesses
What kinds of malware are being spread through social media? They could be anything from Trojans that install a bit of code on your mobile to full-scale viruses that send out spam messages to your Facebook friends and Twitter followers.
This malware poses an especially serious threat to businesses, which are increasingly equipping their employees with smartphones to take with them everywhere they go. A virus that enters a business’s online infrastructure could cause major damage beyond a bunch of spammy links sent to friends.
How to Keep Your Mobile Malware-Free
When using social media sites, always be suspicious of people you don’t know requesting to be friends. Find out who they are before you accept and keep in mind they could be fake profiles. If you get an odd message from a friend that says something like, ‘check out this link’ but no further information, don’t click it. These are common spam messages and many give you viruses.
You can also invest in antivirus apps. Developers have started making them in an attempt to keep up with hackers. Like PC software programs, they perform routine scans and remove malware from your mobile.
Companies should invest in security apps and make sure that all employees are trained well in using their smartphones in order to avoid malware.
Most of all, keep in mind that your mobile isn’t safe. Just like your computer, it can be infected and you could lose data. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.