Mobile phone viruses are on the increase – Is your device secure?


Today, we cannot live without our mobile phones – but users are often not aware that they are just as vulnerable to viruses as PCs.

We use our phone as an alarm clock, to browse the web, to check various social networks, listen to music, play games, and more increasingly, to pay for our shopping.

Our mobile phone has more sensitive information stored on it than our wallets contain, and soon the latter will become a thing of the past – our mobile phones will replace our wallets, says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa.

Not just for phonecalls

Mobile phones are no longer simply a device used for telephonic conversation, in fact, voice conversations have taken a back seat to instant messaging.

This poses a very real danger, as hackers play on the users’ naivety and vulnerability.

Whilst we make sure our laptops have anti-virus software installed, the same concerns don’t seem to translate to our phones.

Viruses can attack any device

Phishing attacks can happen on any device, whether you are accessing the web from a PC, a Mac or a mobile device – whether it is an Android device or an iOS one.  If you type in your details, the cybercriminals can access your account – whether it is a bank account or an iTunes.

However effective an operating system’s technical defences are, there are always ways of bypassing them by hacking the victim rather than the device.

Here are some tips for you and your family, to ensure safety at all times:

1.   Do not click links in strange emails

Phishing scams are more powerful on mobile devices, and links can lead to scams or bad apps.

Remember, it does not matter what device you are on for a phishing attack to happen, so apply the same caution when receiving links on your phone as you would if you were using a PC or Mac.

2.   For apps, stick to trusted marketplaces and vendors

Do not implicitly trust mobile apps – you must ensure that they are safe before downloading.

Malicious software developers will focus where they have the biggest impact, so the increase in smartphone users lead hackers to seek out vulnerabilities in this area.

Before downloading an app to your phone, consider the following question: What functions does the app apply to your phone? If you’re not exactly certain, avoid downloading it until you’ve done some research.

3.   Never install software you did not seek out

The most common way viruses are spread is through malicious software. Avoid software that you did not chose to download. If an app asks to install itself, immediately cancel.

4.   Don’t allow automatic connections

Some smartphones are set up to automatically connect with available Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices. Disabling this option will prevent your phone from connecting and transmitting data without you realizing it.

5.   Consider buying a protective app

Mobile crime is on the rise, with malware or malicious software increasing by 58 percent this year. Malware can steal personal information or otherwise damage your phone. For this reason, it has become essential that you use a protective app for your phone.


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