How to Avoid Malware on your Smartphone

Posted by Rob Schnetzer on Thu, Sep, 26, 2019 @ 14:09 PM

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If you follow IT news you've probably noticed that there has been an uptick in the amount of malware for Android and iOS phones being found out in the wild. This makes a lot of sense, with more people ditching laptops and other computing devices more and more personal data is stored on cell phones and specifically smartphones. With us doing banking and shopping on-line our cell phones store more and more personal data about us and who we are as people. How do you protect these devices from becoming targets by malware you can download almost anywhere?

The following is a transcript of the video:

Pew Research recently released an article stating that 96% of Americans now own some form of cellphone, with 81% being smart phones and 15% being cellphones but not smartphones. If you go to the website Business of Apps 194 billion apps were downloaded in 2018. That's up from 178 billion in 2017. The most downloaded app is either WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger, depending on your source. To go along with that, the most downloaded genre of apps is Games. That includes data from both Google Play and Apple App Store. 

But the first question we need to ask is "Do I need an antivirus" and honestly the jury is still out on this. There are some sites that tell you "You need one" and some sites that tell you its a waste of system resources. It's probably a little bit of both, but to be safe we suggest you run an antivirus as long as it's gotten from a reputable source for instance McAfee, AVG, Avast or Norton. All of these are good companies to purchase an antivirus from, but there are plenty of others as well.

This next tip will work for either Android or iOS. If you feel like dipping your toe into the pool of a third-party app store, be aware of their policies and practices. Many third-party app stores do not adhere to the same security and quality standards as Google and Apple, so caveat emptor. Samsung and Amazon also both run legitimate app stores you can always use with little concern or no concern for the security of any particular app.

Another universal tip that works for Android or iOS. Make sure you read some reviews about the app you're downloading. Your fellow users are going to be your first line of defense when calling out an app developer they've had problems with. Apps may initially receive rave reviews, only to be abandoned en masse due to bugs and problems that creep into the development cycle down the road. Never take the app score at face value. Experiment with 2-3 apps and decide what system works best for the task in question.

One of the last red flags to look for is the permissions settings for each app. These are the system functions the app is permitted to access to do its job. For instance a voice recorder app will need to access to your mobile device's microphones job. But when a calendar app asks for permission to access the camera on your device, this should be a red flag. This is more access than the app requires to function, and should make you suspicious of what else it might be doing in the background. In this case if you see permissions that don't make sense, or make you uneasy stop the installation of the app and make sure you remove it from your phone.

We hope you've gotten something out of one of these tips when downloading third-party apps. Common sense plays a huge role when downloading apps, remember if it looks suspicious don't take the risk.

Here is the list of the sources we've used in this video.


Topics: Cybersecurity, SmartPhone Security