If you’ve been using the Internet for as little as a year, you’re well aware of the threat of viruses, malware, spyware, and all sorts of other nasty little programs designed to steal your data, delete your files, or simply wreak havoc on your computer.
Despite the constant threat of hacking and cybercrime, thousands of smartphone users operate under the urban myths that the likes of iPhones and Androids don’t even need antivirus software because they are too well built.
That’s a dangerous assumption to make considering mobile devices are now accounting for about 50% of all web traffic each quarter.
The makers of iPhones and Androids like to promote the theory that their devices are 100% safe because all content is filtered by the phone as it is received. Likewise, all apps from their respective app stores have been previously checked for viruses.
That would be great if legitimate app stores were the only place to download new stuff online. Third-party app stores exist all over the Internet, and many offer malware-infested free versions of paid apps that insert themselves onto your phone during the download process.
A second way that malware commonly sneaks onto your computer is via what is known as a “drive-by download.” This happens when you incorrectly type in a website name or open a spam email by mistake. Adware, which generates advertising you haven’t requested, and spyware, which tracks your websites visited and your keystrokes, are the most common. But bots are also commonly found this way. Bots are malicious programming that can take control of your phone and cause it to perform commands such as sending your password or banking information to a third party.
Best practices for protecting your smartphone
Protecting your smartphone isn’t merely about keeping the actual phone safe, it’s about your data, your privacy, your family’s privacy, and every bit of connected technology that shares digital space with your smartphone. In order to keep everything as secure as possible, here are a few simple best practices to employ anytime you use your smartphone.
- Do intense research on finding the right antivirus software for your smartphone. Now is not the time to scrimp on a few dollars per month. Do some in-depth research and make a smart decision based on how and where you use your device.
- Always install software updates: Whatever software you wind up picking, make sure you always update any patches that come down the pipe. Although they might seem annoying, these updates are always important as they are typically fixes or fills to holes in the company’s software that could otherwise let unwanted traffic inside your machine.
- Be ultra-cautious of the apps you install on your smartphone. Never venture outside the guaranteed safety of your device’s own app store. These stores are the products of lots of security protocol and layers designed to kick out any app that does not pull muster.
- Always lock your device: It’s so simple that it’s staggering that more people don’t do it. A smart criminal can download or install something on an unlocked phone in the time it took you to read this sentence.