We must always remember that a mobile device is actually just another computer. Although it’s small and portable, we should still treat our smart phones with the same level of diligence and security as we would our desktops or laptops. Your risk of getting infected while surfing the web or downloading apps on your smart phone is just as great as when you visit your favorite websites on your computer or download software on your laptop. Therefore, we must learn how to protect our mobile devices as well.
Here are six security awareness tips to avoid mobile malware:
1. Are they asking for too much information?
Would you provide you social security number if you were doing some online shopping on your laptop? NO! So, you shouldn’t do it on your phone either. If an app is asking for more information than they really need, the app is probably malware.
2. Is that app or file from a trusted source?
Only install apps from trusted sources. Although your phone will allow you to download apps outside of the Google Play or Apple App Stores, it is generally not a good idea to do so. If there is any doubt in your mind at all, simply Google the name of the app. If it is harmful, there are bound to be complaints about it, and if you can’t find any information at all, don’t download it!
3. Get anti-malware software for your phone.
Download anti-malware software for your phone. While no mobile device is immune from malware, Androids are more susceptible to it, and it is also easier to install anti-malware on Androids. Some great, free anti-malware apps for Android are 360 Security, Antivirus & Mobile Security, Avast Mobile Security and AVG AntiVirus Security. (Android Authority) Apple has inexplicably pulled many anti-malware apps from its store. (9 to 5 Mac)
4. Update, Update, UPDATE!
Keep your mobile device operating system up to date. The older the system your phone is operating, the more susceptible you are to a potential attack. The bad guys are constantly finding new ways to infect computers and phones, and Apple and Android have to keep updating their mobile operating systems to remove bugs and prevent mobile users from vulnerabilities.
5. Follow company policy.
Your company should have a clear policy for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), and you should adhere to it. If your device is subjected to malware, you could put not only your own information at jeopardy, but also the information of your employees, co-workers and customers.
6. Take extra precautions.
Finally, don’t forget to use a passcode and a VPN. Encrypt all your mobile data and enable remote wipe. Even though mobile malware is a growing problem, the likelihood of losing or having your phone stolen is still high, and while you can avoid downloading malicious apps, you can’t always stop a thief.
These precautions will help protect your phone from cyber criminals as well as criminals in the physical world.