Progressively more people are adopting smartphones as their primary means of accessing the internet. These ’toys’ are getting embellished with gargantuan volumes of memory. They are no longer ‘playthings’. These devices are gradually performing lots of roles that our computers used to perform in the recent past.
With increasing dependence on these devices, as well as their ‘always connected’ status, it becomes imperative that we protect ourselves (read-> data) from malware. Malware like viruses, trojans, and worms. The nomenclature we give these things does not matter. The important thing is to acknowledge, and know that a particular application on your phone may be surreptitiously doing other things without your knowledge (or wish). Take a look at this case of an Android Trojan spying on your conversations.
In the case of Apple’s iOS, the rigorous testing of apps for approval may make it difficult to get maliciously phone on your UNjailbroken device. But we all know that lots of people do jailbreak, opening up your phone to apps whose intention may not always be altruistic.
On Google’s Android and Nokia’s Symbian Operating Systems, the danger is theoretically even greater. Some users obtain apps from all sorts of sources. Thus, those users can inadvertently get infected with an app that disguises its true intention.
In recent times, there have been all sorts of Trojans on the Android platform. The more recent one (which prompted this write-up) is a Trojan that records your conversations in a lightweight format – and secretly sends them to a server somewhere. Can you beat that? If a Trojan can do that, it can do practically anything (deplete your credit, transfer your email addresses, e.t.c. The inventiveness is only left to the Authority of that Trojan. Imagine a Trojan than can initiate electronic banking / transfer funds – in the night while you sleep!)
Some school of thought would have us believe that the Symbian OS is impervious to viruses. I will not argue this point in this instance (although I have my reasons to doubt that arrogant assertion). The important thing is to err on the side of caution.
How do we insulate ourselves from the (possible) threat of malware? Some things that come to my mind as to how to combat this increasing malware menace are as follows:
– Only use applications from sources you trust, if you can (I do not follow this advice myself)
– When using an OS that allows you set different kinds of permissions for individual apps (say Android), take your time, and give profound thinking to set those permissions carefully.
– Install an app that logs the activities of apps that access / try to access – the internet, and warns you immediately. SPB Wireless Monitor (on Symbian) works well for me.
– Do not jailbreak, hack or root your device (another prescription I
do not follow myself)
Those are the things that come off the top of my dome, off hand.
What do you think? What other things can protection us from these malicious coders and their injurious code?