The amount of malware targeting mobile devices tripled in 2015, according to the security company Kaspersky Labs. Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are as powerful as many desktop computers, and security is just as important.
Here are 10 steps you can take to better secure your mobile devices.
- Keep your mobile devices’ operating systems up to date. Updates can include software patches that address known security issues – your device should prompt you to download and install new versions.
- Update your apps. Check your app store to make sure you are using the latest version of an app. Like operating system updates, app updates can include security and bug fixes.
- Be cautious when deciding to download an app. Some apps are scams masquerading as something useful. Scam apps could serve excess advertising, use up large amounts of data from your data plan, try to collect personal data, or be malware. Some scam apps even have great (but fake) reviews. Research the app, and if in doubt, look for another option that will meet your needs.
- Be aware of apps that ask for access to personal data they do not need. Some scam apps try to collect data such as location, address book contacts, and photos as well as access your microphone and camera. Even when you trust an app, do not allow access to more personal data than it needs.
- Only download apps from your device’s official app store. Apps in unofficial app stores are usually not reviewed to ensure that they are not malicious.
- Always double check that you have typed URLs correctly. This is especially true for sites where you log in to an account, such as bank and loan accounts, social media accounts, and shopping sites. The risk of mistyping a URL is higher on mobile devices because the keys are much smaller than on a physical keyboard. Scammers can buy the URLs for commonly misspelled site names, make the site look like the one you were trying to access, and serve malware or capture your login information.
- Make sure websites are secure. If you are logging in to an account or entering sensitive data (like payment info on a shopping site), check that the web address starts with “https” instead of just “http.” Many browsers also display a green lock in the browser bar.
- Do not use wifi networks that do not require a password. In addition, strongly consider not using any wifi networks where the username and password are posted to anyone in that location.
- Make sure you use a passcode or password to lock your phone when you are not using it. Do not share your password or passcode with others.
- Run antivirus and anti-malware if your device allows them. AndroidTM users can and should have antivirus and/or anti-malware software installed. Apple® devices cannot currently run these programs.
Apple is a trademark of Apple Inc. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.
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