How to Prevent Mobile Malware
BackgroundChidinma worries that downloading all of the interesting apps she finds on her two phones also brings with it a high risk of them being infected with malware or spyware of some kind. To put her mind at ease, she does a little research about the incidence of such events.
With every passing day, new mobile malware are being discovered and many more are being developed.
Google run checks on mobile apps that developers submit to the Google Play store, which has about 1.5 million pieces of software. Any applications that violate the company’s policies are removed.
Third-party app stores carry the most risk
Most malicious software is found in third-party app stores – i.e., app stores that are not native to either Google or Apple – that are popular in a selected group of countries. This software is often loaded with pirated versions of software or applications with Trojan horses.
To protect yourself from mobile malware. we recommend these simple steps:
- Use an official app store
The official app stores — namely, Google’s Play store and Apple’s App Store—regularly check uploaded software for malicious activity. While the checks are automatic and can be fooled, they do act as an initial barrier that attackers have to circumvent.
Loading in applications from other app stores or websites is called sideloading and gives attackers opening to install their own code. Many of those app stores do not perform the same security checks as Apple and Google. “Potentially harmful applications are 7 to 10 times more likely to be installed outside of Google Play.”
2. Don’t jailbreak your phone
Mobile devices come with a lot of built-in security. Using programs to hack the devices to remove the carriers’ and manufacturers’ restrictions—an activity known as “jailbreaking”—can lead to freer markets, but also undermines much of the security protecting the devices. For instance With a jailbroken apple device, you can install apps and tweaks that aren’t authorized by Apple, but you also remove the tough security protections that Apple has built into iOS.
Finally, users who jailbreak their devices need to rely on their own technical know-how to protect the devices and their data. This poses a risk if the user jailbreaks the phone but doesn’t have the required technical knowledge to keep the phone secure.
3. Update often
Patches to discovered vulnerabilities are released as updates by app developers and OS developers. So constant update provides you cover and immunity from these vulnerabilities.
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