Chances are you’ve probably encountered viruses on your desktop computer or laptop at some point. But did you know that similar viruses can affect your mobile devices and smartphones as well? Most smartphone owners don’t realize that malicious software, otherwise known as malware, can infect their devices.
According to the Pew Research Center, 68% of Americans own a smartphone, and cybercriminals have taken notice. In 2014, approximately 16 million mobile devices were infected by malware. Some mobile malware threats are similar to those you would find on your computer, such as clicking on suspicious email links or search results, but mobile devices also allow for other threats. Downloading a malicious application or game can give cybercriminals access to personal information on your device.
Malicious actions include stealing personal information, sending SMS to premium numbers, keylogging, and hijacking images and files by installing cryptographic software. Additionally, the malware could crash your device, leading to a loss of important data.
While this information may seem alarming, there are ways to protect your smartphone from malware. Firstly, always keep your phone password protected. And “1234” or “password” aren’t sufficient; make your password secure by using several characters, numbers, and capitalized letters. When it comes to applications with their own passwords, such as online banking apps, do not stay logged in. This makes it easier for hackers to access your personal information.
When it comes to downloading applications, do your research and make sure the apps are coming from trusted sources. Look into user reports and compare to similar applications to find the most trustworthy source. Apps are the main vehicle cyber criminals use to access your data and information, so be careful what you download.
When using a public, non-password protected Wifi network, it’s best not to view sensitive information or log into online banking accounts, email accounts, or social network pages. On unencrypted public networks, hackers can more easily access data on your device.
The best thing to do to keep your device from being infected by mobile malware is to be aware of the threats that exist and take the appropriate steps to protect yourself against them.