While it is a myth that Apple devices do not get malware, it is true that Android devices are much more frequently targeted.
When you combine this fact with the amount of personal information we store on our mobile devices it is important that we are just as diligent in protecting them from malware as we are our computers.
Malware on mobile devices generally takes one of two approaches to access your information. It will either trick you into granting admin privileges to access your personal information or it will leverage known vulnerabilities in your mobile device to access your information.
Once the malware has access to your phone it can search for banking information, passwords, contact lists, and anything else you may have on your device.
With that in mind, here are some tips on how to recognize malware and properly protect your Android devices in the future:
- Install a trusted anti-virus on all your devices.
- Always lock your screen.
- Always keep your phone’s patches (system updates) up to date. These are often emergency security patches to fix vulnerabilities in your device.
- Review the permissions your apps have. If they look suspicious they may very well be malware.
- Keep an eye out for applications that ask for unnecessary permissions when installed. Many times hackers will hide their malware in what appear to be legitimate applications.
- A few signs that your device may be infected; constant ad pop-ups, application icon disappears after install, increased battery drain, there is an application on your phone that you didn’t install.
- If you get a pop up demanding a ransom payment in BitCoin you most likely have ransomware. The good news is that generally ransomware on mobile devices can only access external storage so make sure to store any hyper-sensitive data on your phone’s internal memory if at all.
- Randomly scan your mobile devices with Malwarebytes or Bitdefender to find any existing malware.
- Avoid applications from 3rd party app stores.
If you follow these suggestions and stay diligent in protecting your devices your personal information will be in a much safer place. That said, if you have an internet connection there is always a chance that the data can be accessed so the best policy is to not keep it on your mobile devices in the first place.