In the PC world, a virus is any program that replicates itself by attaching to other programs. Hackers use this method to attack PC users especially over the internet. The term Virus was therefore used to refer to any malicious software (malware) on the PC. Such virus replications have not been seen in mobile devices, at least not yet; but surely it can’t be long. With technology getting into overdrive and mobile technology being a key driver of this growth, high-end devices will soon be faced with an enormous task of dealing with ghastly viruses.
However, that doesn’t mean that mobile devices are not at risk of malware and virus attacks at the moment. The Android world, for example, is currently faced with dangerous malware capable of secretly controlling a device, stealing targeted information, and tracking user’s activity and location. The malware are also being used to steal; money, passwords and login names; and to put false charges on user’s accounts without their knowledge.
How do these viruses and malware enter my device?
Geographical location and user behaviors are some of the known risk factors when it comes to mobile device virus and malware attacks. Fraudsters are busy disguising malware as innocent-looking apps and placing them on app stores and popular websites. Most of them are actually free to download. So the next time you download the latest version of Angry Birds from a random website, you might indeed be loading a dangerous malware into your device. Interestingly, these apps will work just as described so you’re highly unlikely to suspect malice. But behind the curtains, they’ll be doing the unthinkable!
How to protect yourself and your device
Only download apps from trusted app stores and websites – Google Play is one such store where you can download your apps confidently. Be careful with unfamiliar websites or apps following you straight to your email. If you feel they’re trying too hard to get you to download it, avoid it completely.
Be wary of SMS and email spam- malicious SMSs have become quite common. They range from harmless advertisements to text with links to potentially dangerous websites designed to not only deliver malware to your device but also steal vital information from you. Do NOT reply to such messages. Instead, delete them and report the incidence to your service provider for further action.
Be careful with links shared on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks – of course you don’t have to quit social media, but you have to be very cautious with links shared on there. Even if it’s coming from a close friend, think before you click. If it’s from a stranger, you might as well mark it as spam straight away.
Double check URLs of websites you visit – mobile devices have small screens and this is a huge inspiration for hackers; they know that you can’t be too keen on the URL like you would do on a much bigger PC screen. You need to beat them at their own game. If you’re searching Amazon, it should be Amazon.com. If it’s Amazzon.ch, something is not right.
Use mobile security software – MacAfee Mobile Security is one such mobile security program. It helps with anti-theft, antivirus, application privacy, web protection, and text and call filtering.
In the fight against virus and malware attacks, awareness is very important. It’s much easier to protect yourself and your device if you know where the attack is coming from.