What Is Mobile Malware And How Can You Avoid It?
The internet can be a dangerous place, so I am grateful that TechieWhizKid.com has allowed me to share my article about mobile malware on their blog. TechiWhizKid.com is an awesome blog focused on tips and tricks to make technology work for you instead of the other way around. They also provide handy recommendations as seen in this article: “Best Office Apps For Android.”
Though many people know that viruses and hackers can attack their computer, they aren’t aware that there are security threats targeted at their mobile devices as well. Just as your computer can acquire malware, so can any other device that connects to the internet. But what exactly is malware?
Malware is the term used to describe software or code that is designed to exploit your device or data without your consent. Some examples of malware are viruses, spyware, key-loggers, and Trojans. Unfortunately, malware can be easy to pick up and can sometimes be present on your device without your knowledge.
So what are you to do about this and how can you avoid it? For starters, you should install security apps, if you haven’t already, but there are some other steps you should take as well. Here’s what you should know when it comes to protecting both your mobile device and your personal information.
Since not everyone is aware of which apps they should use to protect their device, it’s important that we go over some of the basics. If you already have a computer, it’s likely that you’re familiar with anti-virus programs. However, due the increase in functionality that smartphones and tablets offer, some people no longer even need to have a desktop computer on hand, and smartphones don’t typically come with security apps already installed.
Though there are many different anti-virus apps to choose from, I would personally recommend Avast Free Mobile Security, mainly because of the amount of features it offers compared to some of the other free anti-virus apps available. With Avast Free Mobile Security, you’ll even have access to anti-theft capabilities that can help you locate your device if it’s stolen. You’ll also be able to wipe the data off of your mobile device if you need.
After you install an anti-virus app, it would be wise to install a Virtual Private Network (VPN). With both security apps on your mobile device, you’ll have much more security than just using one alone. A Virtual Private Network encrypts your internet connection and hides your location by masking your IP address.
With your connection encrypted and your location hidden, your device will be well protected, which is especially important because it’s common for smartphones and tablets to connect to public WiFi. Public WiFi is an unsecured network that is easy for hackers to gain access to, so you’ll want to ensure that you have your device secured any time you use it. Just like anti-virus apps, there are a variety of VPN apps to choose from as well.
I would recommend ExpressVPN, as it’s compatible with every OS and also offers unlimited speed and bandwidth. Another benefit to using ExpressVPN is that their customer service is available around the clock via live chat, so you’re able to easily contact them if you need any help. Check out Secure Thoughts for more information about ExpressVPN and to see how it compares to some of the other VPNs available.
Security apps can do a lot to help you avoid malware, but you’ll still need to do your part, and in order to do so, you’ll need to know ways you can avoid malware without the reliance on security apps. Even with security apps doing their jobs correctly, there’s always a small chance that something could slip through the cracks. One of the main ways you can avoid picking up malware on your mobile device is by avoiding unfamiliar hyperlinks.
Hyperlinks can appear on websites, in emails, text messages, in apps, and even on the app store that you use. For starters, whenever you go to download an app, always read through the reviews and the user permissions first to determine whether or not you should be suspicious of it. If others have encountered a problem with it, it’s likely they will write a negative review about the app.
Be aware that sometimes those reviews can be removed by the app developer, so you should never base your opinion solely on the reviews. Another way you can check to see if you should proceed with caution before you download an app is to do a quick Google search of the name of the app, as sometimes information will show up in the first page of the results about any news associated with the app.
Overall, it’s best to stick to the websites you know to be trustworthy, when possible. When you receive links in emails or texts, always check the URL first to determine whether or not they lead to a familiar page. On some touch-screen devices, you can do this by holding your finger down on the hyperlink until a small box appears that displays the URL.
Be aware that sometimes apps contain links as well that can lead to malicious websites. These will usually appear in the form of ads that use catchy phrases that might persuade you to click on them. Some examples are “Virus detected,” “You’ve won,” “Click here for your free gift card,” and other similar titles.
When To Share And When Not To…
Sometimes you can land into a lot of trouble just by sharing your information. It can be hard to avoid doing so, but the less you share, the better. It’s always possible for companies to have data breaches, so even sharing your information with legitimate companies can sometimes be an issue.
When you do find yourself needing to use your information, maybe for an online purchase for example, always log out of your account afterwards, and don’t store your password on your device. It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your bank statements as well. Sometimes hackers might actually pose as a legitimate person or company too, so be aware of that whenever you are entering your personal information online.
Most of the time, common internet security mistakes are actually the cause of people acquiring malware on their device, so if you know how to avoid them, you have a much better chance of preventing your information from becoming compromised.
Keeping Your Mobile Device Protected
Any time you use the internet, there’s always a chance that you could acquire malware. The truth is, no one is immune from online security threats and even with the best software installed, you could still end up becoming a victim (though it’s not nearly as likely). When trying to avoid malware, it’s important to understand where malware commonly appears and how you can protect your privacy online.
When you start to learn more about online security, it’s likely that you’ll better understand how to spot an online scam, though it’s never entirely simple, even for the most tech savvy. New security threats on the internet are appearing all the time, especially as new technology comes out. But with preventative measures taken, you’re much better off than those who keep their device unprotected regardless.
About the author: Caroline is a technology enthusiast who writes about internet security and data privacy. She has travelled all over the world and enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge of new technology and smartphone development with readers.