Perhaps when it comes to your precious smartphone, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Your smartphone is indeed a powerful computing device, and there are potential thieves out there who want access to that information for obvious financial reasons. Evidence suggests that more than 350,000 new pieces of malware are generated each and every day—and smartphones are increasingly becoming the target of choice.
For those who let their guard down even for a moment, here are a few examples of what can happen:
-Application software can potentially latch on to your device via websites or other apps that run in the background. It can then either steal your personal information or simply use your computer and network connection to process that information.
-If you decide to download apps from unofficial sites, that can result in your apps being replaced by copycat apps that carry with them fraudulent ad-clicking software.
-Malware can be embedded in a particular website or a malicious Wi-Fi network. When this happens, a code is left behind to redirect links to illicit sites where you enter your sensitive information that can be stolen.
-Adware can be embedded in apps that cull data from other parts of your smartphone. This information can be used to make future emails and other communications seem more trustworthy. Experts warn that such dangerous software is difficult to distinguish from legitimate ones.
And here are several signs that your smartphone might have malware: you’re seeing ads constantly, regardless of which app you’re using; you see apps you don’t recognize on your phone; you install an app, and then the icon disappears; you’re sending out spam; and your battery is draining much faster than usual.
So, what is the best way to protect yourself from this seemingly constant threat?
One way is to get an antivirus or malware security software on your device, which should make the risk of malware infection very low. The good news is that if your phone is up to date with the latest patches, you don’t click on any suspicious links, and don’t stray too far from the apps that are in Google Play Store, the chance of you becoming a victim is nearly nonexistent.
If you do decide to purchase an antivirus tool, make sure it comes from a well-known source, such as AVG, Norton, Avast, or Bitdefender. They do add an extra layer of protection, even though your information might not be vulnerable at the moment.
Keep in mind that Android malware is only going to increase in the future, so it might be in your best interest to protect your smart device in every way that you can.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.