I like to ask people what gadget they can’t live without and the answer is, always, my phone. Have you ever seen the absolute panic in someone’s eyes when they lose their phone? These little handsets have become extensions of us and we don’t seem able to function without them.
There is no doubt that they make our life easier, but do you realise how much of your personal information is on your phone? Is it secure? We spend a lot of money and time downloading security solutions on our desktop PCs and laptops, but for some reason, when it comes to phones, very few people I know have considered that their smartphone is also at risk of being targeted by cyber criminals and viruses.
You can live in denial but the truth is, your smartphone is a target. Smartphone viruses can be really hard to detect and can come from anywhere. Think of all those apps you download? Or the various sites you visit on your mobile? With the amount of data being received and zooming off your phone you need to consider protecting it from viruses and also fraud.
I asked the folks at Kaspersky Lab to give me some tips on how to protect your Android phone from viruses as well as cyber criminals, because Android phones are most frequently targeted. Here’s what they had to say:
Install a security solution on your mobile device. Make sure it is one that regularly scans your device for viruses and can also remove viruses if need be. Freebies are fun but this might be the one time you splash out and pay for an app.
It’s also rather important to know how to identify when your phone has picked up a virus, so you can fix it as soon as possible. Here are some things to look out for:
One of the easiest ways of knowing your phone has been infected by a virus, is if it keeps ‘freezing’ or it becomes very slow. If your phone keeps freezing while you are on social media or sending a message to a friend, it may be affected by a virus.
Another sign is if the battery of your phone doesn’t seem to last as long as it usually does. If you find you need to put the phone on charge more than you normally do, your phone may have a virus.
If you notice that when making calls on your phone that the call often ‘cuts out’ or you hear weird noises or interruptions on the call – it may be a sign that your device has a virus.
What do you do if you think your phone has a virus? Don’t do any online shopping or banking. Stay off all of your social media accounts and follow these steps:
Put your phone into safe mode – this prevents any third-party apps running, including any malware on your phone.
Once your phone is in safe mode, download an antivirus system onto your phone, which will scan and clear your phone with any viruses it may have.
Finally, when you are sure that the virus has completely gone, Kaspersky Lab advises you to change your password for all your social media and online accounts – to be extra cautious and safe.
The bottom line is that you need to be aware. If you’re accessing the internet on any device you’re vulnerable to viruses and cyber attacks. Make sure you have the necessary security in place. Kaspersky Lab has a great article on how to protect your Android smartphone from viruses that includes a few more tips. You can read it here.
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