Mobile Viruses are on the Rise: How Safe Is Yours?

There was a time when the word “unputdownable” was reserved to describe some of the most intriguing books that made it to the prestigious ranks of of New York Times best-sellers’ list. In recent times, however, the adjective have been seemingly seized by smartphones to define their ubiquitous use and their success in enslaving the masses. The growing mobile culture has sidelined the traditional brick-and-mortor marketplace and redefined online commerce in such a way that we now depend heavily on our portable devices to do almost everything – from paying utility bills to trading stocks. And while all businesses are migrating to suit the mobile space, malware authors are equally eager to join the fray and unleash their evils in the platform that is foreseen to be the future goldmine.

If you have been using a smartphone for years and never had problem with viruses, consider yourself lucky. Conversely, also realize that you could be among the millions of users who are at potential risks of being the victims of targeted virus attacks; especially so, if you routinely carry out online financial transactions like shopping and bank transfers.

We are not implying that you should cut off your use of smartphones for performing the aforementioned tasks – if anything, smartphones are supposed to make our lives easier in accomplishing such things. Most of the threats that smartphones face originate from a range of known and unknown viruses, so if you invest a fraction of your budget in equipping your phone with good antivirus program, you should be all right. This is especially true for Android phones, because like its popularity over the iOS platform, malware authors also seem to be targeting Android products over Apple devices.

Above all, there are certain things you need to be aware of in order to avoid falling prey to online frauds and to prevent a breach from happening, rather than taking curative actions in the guilt-ridden aftermath. Below, we have come up with a few pointers to help you safeguard your mobile phones from risky programs:

1. Ensure that you are using a mobile from a recognizable brand. Price issues can be overcome, but never settle for dirt-cheap smartphones that might mimic high-end brands but are shady about their durability and data security.

2. As mentioned earlier, download a trusted antivirus program suitable for your mobile. There are a plethora of free antivirus apps that offer a range of diagnostic service. You just have to make sure they are from a legitimate company and do not encroach a lot of space in your mobile memory.

3. Use the antivirus application to scan your mobile to look for any possible threats hiding in the device. You should do this routinely to make sure the antivirus does its job of keeping your device clean. And don’t forget to update the antivirus app every now and then!

4. Avoid connecting to public networks or random devices through your Bluetooth unless you are sure about the network safety. Unsecured Bluetooth connection can be a vulnerable free pass for harmful programs to make ways into your device.

5. Be careful what you tap on in your smartphone. Avoid websites with dubious content, don’t click on gimmicky ads, and only download apps that you fully trust. Also, some app permissions can be really sneaky; so be mindful about the kind of access you allow them.

6. Scareware ads are pretty common in mobile browsers; don’t give in to such ads when they show up. If left with no choice, close the browser that display these ads and avoid visiting the site again.

7. Protect your device from allowing to install apps from unknown sources. To disable the functionality in your Android device – go to Settings, tap on Security, and uncheck Unknown Sources.

While these are some of the commonsensical ways to protect your smartphone from being a victim of virus attacks, it is important to remember that there is no silver bullet that can offer an absolute protection. Malware authors are continually updating their tactics, and many times an antivirus software is not able to trace the most sophisticated ones.

Regardless, having a good antivirus app installed in your mobile is like having an extra pair of eyes that lookout for existing and impending dangers.

Author Bio:
Manish is a former journalist who works as a blog consultant for Comodo. He completed his Master’s in Corporate Communications from Lindenwood University in Saint Charles in 2011. As a tech blogger, Manish has a penchant for writing about the latest trends in the information security industry.