The Pew Research Center reports that about three-quarters of American adults own a smartphone. While this means that more people have convenient and instant access to information, it can also result in an increase of compromised devices and personal information.
Many people assume that their smartphones are more secure and less likely to be compromised by a virus than their PC. As much as we’d like to think that smartphones are completely safe, just like computers, there’s always a risk that your smartphone could get a damaging virus.
How Do Smartphones Become Infected?
Since smartphones connect to the same WiFi connections that our PCs do, phones are just as vulnerable to getting a virus. Here are a few common ways that your smartphone becomes infected:
There are millions of apps available for smartphone users to download. Aside from reading a few reviews, many users have grown accustomed to downloading an app without thinking twice and assume that it’s safe. While many apps are legit, how do we know for sure if it’s safe or not?
The average smartphone owner uses about nine apps per day, do you know if your apps are safe? Do you know if you have a spy app on your phone? “Spy” apps are often marketed to parents who want to stealthily monitor their child’s activity but some spy apps may be disguised as a regular app and can track and monitor your information with you knowing.
These fake apps are available on official and unofficial app stores so it can be difficult to determine what’s safe and what’s not.
Phishing Via Text
While many of us have gotten used to being suspicious of a weird email that tells us to click on a link to watch a video or something in that nature but we might fail to use the same common sense when it comes to texting.
Using An Unsecured WiFi Network
Need to use a WiFi connection when you’re on the go but don’t know the password for a secured network? You might think that using an unsecured network just to quickly check your email or bank account won’t be that big of a deal. It all depends on who’s on the other side of that unsecured network. Most times it’s not worth the risk.
Signs That Your Phone May Be Compromised
Much a virus affects your PC, a virus on your smartphone can move around and cause damage without you noticing. Here are some signs that your phone may have a virus or has been compromised:
- Your phone runs slower than usual, even after updates
- The battery drains fast or feels “hot”
- There are apps on your phone that you didn’t install
- Your email is blocked by spam
- You have new and suspicious charges on your phone bill
- You’re seeing pop-ups
Ways To Keep Your Phone Protected
Even though everyone’s smartphone could be affected by a virus, some phones are more vulnerable than others. Most preventative measures are easy and don’t cost very much. As a smartphone owner, you can keep you and your phone safer by simply using more common sense.
Make sure the passcode to your smartphone is strong and that the passwords that you use on your phone are different for each account. Log out of accounts when you’re not using them and always use a secure WiFi network that asks for a password. Rethink anything that seems “weird” and if you have a doubt about anything, such as an app, don’t open or download.
Having adequate antivirus protection is also essential to keeping your smartphone safer. While the software on your phone may do a well enough job, there’s nothing wrong with making your phone a little more secure. Not sure where to get software you can trust? TotalAV.com is a great place to start and you can get all the software you need to make your phone less vulnerable to a virus.