8 Ways to Protect Your Smartphone from Viruses - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Threats to your mobile phone are growing.  Smartphones are susceptible to viruses, malware, and spyware just like a computer. In fact, there are over 1,400 mobile malware signatures, according to Kaspersky Labs America, a security company that sells antivirus software for PCs, Macs, and smartphones that run Windows- and Symbian-based operating systems. Because Windows and Symbian are two of the most popular types of phones in the world they are more prone to viruses. But this summer, Kaspersky Labs, claims to have found the first Trojan virus that specifically targets Android phones. Apple claims that you can’t get a virus on their phones, but some purport otherwise.

Besides the danger of phone malfunction and failure due to bugs, attackers can also get access to the data on your phone, including your contacts, email, photos, and even your whereabouts. But all is not lost. Here are some things you can do to keep your phone safe from viruses and your personal information private.

1. Avoid Jailbreaking or otherwise “rooting” your phone, says Tim Armstrong, virus analyst at Kaspersky Labs. Your smartphone becomes a bigger target for malicious agents when you “jail break” or hack into your phone so that you can download apps from other operating systems or switch mobile carriers.

2. Avoid opening email attachments on your phone.  As with desktop malware, mobile attachments can contain malicious programs.

3. Avoid clicking on links in text messages. Text message spam can contain links to malicious websites.

4. When downloading applications be wary of the system resources that the application needs permission to access on your phone. If you are not familiar with the app don’t download it.

5. “Be extra careful of possible phishing sites while using your mobile browser,” says Armstrong.  While browsing the internet, apply all of the same precautions to your phone as you would your desktop. When possible, enter the site address directly in the browser. If you click a link to a new page check the URL to make sure you weren’t redirected to an unknown site.

6. Turn your Bluetooth device off when you are not using it. Anyone with a Bluetooth-enabled phone can easily spy on your phone activity, from calls you make to the text messages you send. Also, do not accept Bluetooth messages from strange phone numbers.

7. Lock your phone, and enable remote wipe.  “The most common problem affecting mobile users is the physical loss of their phone…from leaving it in the back of a cab to having it stolen,” says Armstrong.  Wiping it will keep thieves from accessing any personal information on the phone. Also, make sure you back up the data on your phone.

8. Upload antivirus software. Many smartphones come with some form of antivirus protection, but it doesn’t hurt to get more. Companies like Kaspersky Labs, McAfee, and Lookout Mobile Security will provide you with extra protection along with other critical services.

For more information on cyber security read:

Five Steps to Better IT Security

Who’s in Your Wallet?

Tech Insider: Cloud Storage Keeps Your Data Safe and You Sane

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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