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The particularly open nature of Android makes it easy for developers to create all kinds of wonderful, free apps. From games to convenient solutions for daily life and everything in between, the Google Play Store offers a plethora of programs you can add to your phone in five taps or less. The open source environment is something we really love about Android, but it’s unfortunately something that hackers and spammers love as well. That’s why it’s up to you to protect your device and use common sense on a daily basis.
Generally speaking, iPhones are not as susceptible to mobile viruses or malware unless they have been jailbroken. Jailbreaking an iPhone simply means the user can do things not typically permitted on an Apple product, such as running certain processes and downloading apps that are not offered in the App Store. If you’re using a jailbroken iPhone, use caution when downloading apps from other sources to limit your chances of infecting your device with malware. Rarely, viruses may also gain access to phones when they have compromised and deeply embedded themselves in legitimate websites.
Suspicious Activity on your Device
Detecting a virus or malware on your smartphone may take some time and a little knowhow or even a little luck. Sometimes the changes to your phone are so subtle that they can go unrealized for a span of time. Other times, suspicious symptoms may clearly point to potential problems with your phone. Some common warning signs may include unstable or crashing apps, presence of new apps you didn’t install, or long hang time and big slowdowns. If spammers get a hold of your accounts, you might also notice a larger-than-usual dent in your data usage and depletion of battery life.
Understanding Mobile Malware Issues
By design, malware infects your phone in order to gain unrestricted access to sensitive or private information, or even to secretly take control of your device. Your passwords and account information may be one of the key objectives, yet viruses on your phone can cause a lot of different problems depending on their programming. Malicious software may even allow the hacker to steal money from you, possibly by placing false charges on your accounts. Another chilling possibility, hackers may be able to track your location and your activities unbeknownst to you once their malware has infiltrated your device.
How Do You Get Mobile Malware?
Most mobile viruses and malware reach your phone hidden within apps that you download and install. Sometimes malware hides on websites that you may access from your phone, and the unwanted apps may download in the background. Other times you may even receive a text message with a link to the app, which when opened, may install the app and take the liberty of sending itself out to your closest friends. Google and Apple scan apps offered in the stores, but it isn’t always possible to catch everything.
Phone Virus and Mobile Malware Protection
In many cases, device users are in a reactive holding pattern of scanning for and removing malware rather than preventing it from attacking in the first place. Safeguarding your phone and its contents is often the best defense in keeping your information and your property safe. For some, this may mean more cautious phone use, and for others, perhaps installation of a robust mobile security and antivirus solution to protect the device. If of interest, you can compare and contrast your mobile security options so you can choose the best fit for your device and your needs.
As an instant step toward better protection, take a few seconds right now to go into your Android’s Settings > More > Security area and ensure that “Unknown Sources – Allow installation of apps from sources other than the Play Store” – is unchecked. This prevents apps from installing if they download unexpectedly in the background from a compromised site. As another point of protection, avoid downloading apps from sources other than Google Play or the App Store. And of course, definitely don’t click on suspicious links that come to your inbox.
Regularly backing up your phone and its contents—especially your photos and videos—is another proactive step you can take. Ensuring your important files are safe makes it easier to manage a hard reset if and when the time comes that you may need to restore your device to factory settings or enlist the help of a professional.
Your cell phone is likely the most personally connected possession you own. It has ties to your personal life, your photos, your family, your friends, your finances, maybe even your job. Don’t leave the fate of your phone and its contents up to chance. Instead, take a few simple steps to keep your device and your personal information safe.
This article originally appeared on Sparknet Technologies.