Can you go a day without your cell phone? Chances are you carry it around with you almost everywhere you go. You likely store personal information on it, from photos, to account passwords to even banking information.
That’s why it’s important to keep your device safe from malware.
Malware (or malicious software) is a program or file that can infiltrate and damage a device, such as a cell phone, laptop or tablet. It can steal and delete sensitive data from your phone, or hijack its controls, like send emails on your behalf. Viruses, spyware and worms are different forms of malware. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to keep your device protected.
Use secure Wi-Fi, and avoid unknown networks
Stick to password-protected Wi-Fi networks. Open Wi-Fi networks are not secure – anyone can access them. Always make sure you are connected to the right network.
Install and download from trusted sources
Be mindful of where you’re downloading your apps from. Stick to the default source of apps on your mobile device, such as the App Store (Mac) or Play Store (Android). Look into the permissions the app is requesting before downloading it.
Don’t click on links or attachments in suspicious emails or texts
If you don’t recognize the sender of a text or email, ignore the message, even if it appears to be coming from your bank or cell phone provider.
Keep your operating system and apps updated
Regularly check for safe firmware updates for your phone, and ensure you are allowing your phone to auto-update its apps. If you prefer to manually update them, be sure to check often if updates are needed.
Turn off Wi-Fi, Location and Bluetooth when possible
By keeping your Location on at all times, it lets hackers pinpoint where you or your device is located. Leaving Wi-Fi on when not in use also gives predators an idea of where you might be, as your phone continuously scans for networks in the area, even when your phone is not in use.
Protect yourself using passwords
Set a strong password or pin for your phone so only you can access it. Enable your phone to auto-lock after a short period of time.
How do you know your device has been affected?
You may notice emails or text messages you actually didn’t send, or that the appearance and functions of your phone have changed. You may also see charges to your phone bill that you don’t recognize. Call your service provider if you believe your device has been infected with malware.