Top 10 Ways to Avoid Mobile Malware

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Smartphones and tablets have shifted from being niche luxury gadgets to mainstream consumer devices. As this trend keeps growing, a large number of mobile malware developers have become keenly interested in exploiting this new and fertile platform.

Android devices are particularly hard-hit in this issue for several reasons. To begin with, Android is now the leading platform in regards to user numbers. Secondly, its open ecosystem makes it prone to such attacks. Thirdly, the capability of users buying apps from a wide variety of rogue app repositories is also another factor. Other platforms like iOS happen to be more secure, but this doesn’t make them totally impregnable. Regardless of its ‘walled garden’ architecture and rigid curation of apps, iOS still has its own weaknesses. So here are some of the top 10 ways to protect your mobile device from malicious attacks.

  1. Check all the apps you install on your device to avoid mobile malware

To enhance the security of your smartphone or tablet, always take the time to review all the apps you install on it. One of the best ways of determining that you have mobile malware is finding unusual glitches in your device’s battery life. This is usually a strong indicator that something is running undercover in the background. Also, an inexplicable increase in your device’s data usage can be a red flag that you are dealing with a malware infection. This normally signifies that some suspicious app is automatically transmitting data from your device. Always try to obtain all the information you can on all apps installed in your device. If you stumble across some that have no consequential use to you, delete them instantly.

  1. Be on the lookout for suspicious links

Just like when dealing with email spam, you will have to be extremely cautious of following links from contacts you don’t know. Additionally, when surfing the web with your smartphone or tablet, be cautious of clicking on any pop-up links. Most malicious websites can be able to exploit bugs on your device. One of the common things they do is installing malware to run in the background, and you won’t realize it until it is too late. As such, be very suspicious of any websites that request to install apps on your device.

  1. Be cautious of the permissions you grant to apps

It is very important to painstakingly review the exact permissions you grant to the apps you install. Any moment you install an app on your device, you are essentially giving it permission to execute specific actions. So, take the time to determine the level of access you allow an app to have. For Android users, be especially wary of apps which demand administrative rights. All in all, make sure that the permission you grant to an app is on par with its functionality.

  1. Be suspicious of over-the-air network connectivity

Typically, over-the-air networks like Wi-Fi are not secure. When accessing sensitive data on a public Wi-Fi hotspot, such data can easily be exposed to malicious users. Most of whom make it their business to ‘snoop’ on the wireless traffic on such access points. So, it is wise to avoid accessing confidential data when using over-the-air connections. If you must do so, employ safeguards such as VPN technology to protect your data.

  1. Switch off Bluetooth when you don’t need it

Bluetooth is another way malicious individuals access and steal sensitive data on mobile devices. Generally speaking, Bluetooth has a range of around 10 feet. Nevertheless, there are powerful devices whose range can extend to up to 300 feet. If your smartphone or tablet Bluetooth configuration isn’t thoroughly secure, you will be providing a leeway for people to gain access to the data on your device. Always ensure that you Bluetooth is never set to discoverable mode, and switch it off if you don’t need it.

  1. Never jailbreak your mobile device

Jailbreaking is a dubious process that allows you to circumvent the security constraints imposed by your gadget’s operating system vendor. Besides, by voiding your device’s warranty, you can expose it to any malicious code that may be embedded in the app which jailbroke it. It also means you will dismantle the security architecture of your device. This usually allows all apps, even malicious ones, to access the data found on the other ones. Jailbreaking your device might seem to be a feasible means of obtaining total access to your operating system and features. However, in the process, this creates massive loopholes which malicious applications can exploit.

  1. Keep your device’s operating system up-to-date

Using outdated operating systems can leave you vulnerable to malicious attacks. This is particularly the case with the Android platform where updates can be blocked even if you want to install them. First of all, Google itself can block the update. Secondly, your device’s manufacturer can opt to offer updates for only the latest handset models. Thirdly, your network provider can decline to increase the bandwidth to fully support the update. Without the ability to update your Android OS, your device will always be susceptible to potential exploits. Therefore, before settling for any device or network, ensure they can supply you with OS updates.

  1. Install apps from only trusted sources to avoid mobile malware

You should only install apps from trusted sources. For iOS, this is the App Store, and for Android, this is Google Play. Always mistrust 3rd party sources unless your OS vendor can vouch for them.

  1. Encrypt your device

To safeguard yourself from mobile malware threats, you will need to encrypt your device and the data on it. By fully encrypting your gadget, it becomes very hard for malicious individuals to decrypt it and steal data from it. If possible, go for hardware encryption. This kind of encryption utilizes intricate passwords to create an encryption key. This key is mandatory to decrypt your device and nobody can break it.

  1. Use anti-malware

Finally, the iOS platform doesn’t support anti-malware due to its unique security architecture. However, this is possible for Android devices. To prevent the risk of infection on your Android smartphone or tablet, use an excellent anti-malware application.

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Posted on May 18, 2023