used with permission from Norton by Symantec, by Nadia Kovacs
You install Internet security software on your computer, but what about your smartphone or tablet? If you think the mobile devices don’t require security software, well, you’d be wrong. Treating your smartphone or tablet in the same manner you do your laptop is crucial, as these devices are actually just smaller, powerful computers.
According to Symantec’s 2015 Internet Security Threat Report, it was discovered that 17 percent of all Android apps (nearly one million total) are actually malware in disguise. This includes 46 new families of Android malware in 2014.
If those statistics don’t have you convinced yet, take a look at some of the most important reasons that smartphones and tablets require security software, and learn what you can do to keep yours protected:
Definitely the most important data to protect, email, social media accounts, bank apps—your smartphone or tablet is just as full of sensitive personal data as your computer. Your email alone likely provides all the personal data a hacker needs to commit identity theft, while use of unverified third-party apps also leaves devices vulnerable.
Third-Party App Stores
As previously mentioned, third-party apps pose a threat to smartphone and tablet users. Legitimate app stores such as Apple’s App Store and Google Play are the safest way to go, as these companies have security measures implemented in order to keep malware infested apps out of their stores. The big problem with third party app stores is that it can be a free-for-all. These stores are usually unregulated, and will often offer a free version of a paid app, tricking users into thinking they’re getting a deal. In reality, they’re actually getting a malware-laden app that is designed to steal as much data as possible.
Increase in Popularity
Hackers and scam artists are increasingly turning to mobile devices for all their thieving needs, as smartphones and tablets are more popular than ever. And because people don’t think of their smartphones and tablets as PCs, hacking them is quite easy compared to a laptop that has security software, encryption, and a firewall.
How to Protect Your Devices:
- In addition to taking advantage of security software, it helps to use discretion when installing apps. Only rely on legitimate app store sources such as Google Play and the Apple App Store, and read app reviews before installing.
- Lock screen security is also important, as it makes it more or less impossible for a thief to access your information. If a simple swipe is all it takes to unlock your tablet or smartphone, you’ve leaving your information very vulnerable in the event of theft.
- Remaining aware of SMS phishing scams is another essential measure. It’s not just emails you have to watch out for these days—phishing scams come in the form of text messages as well. Remember to trust your instincts; if a message seems suspicious, it probably is.
- Keeping your phone or tablet’s software updated is important as well. As is the case with your computer, if your mobile device isn’t regularly updated, it’s vulnerable to threats. You’ll also want to review your security settings on your device and make adjustments as needed.