Protecting Your Smartphone From Hackers: Is It Possible?
Recently, researchers discovered a new strain of malware aimed at smartphones running on Google’s Android system. The new software logs details about calls coming in and going out, and worse yet, it records those calls.
This recent discovery is just the latest. Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder of Lookout Inc., which is a mobile security software developer based in San Francisco, told the Associated Press that “We’re in the experimental stage of mobile malware, where the bad guys are starting to develop their business models.” This makes since, as smartphones are quickly becoming more popular for people from every walk of life.
In July, a previously undiscovered leak in Apple’s iPhone and iPad security systems was uncovered, causing an uproar. The problem was a program which users downloaded, which was designed to allow them to run unauthorized programs on their mobile devices. Users who downloaded the program were essentially shooting themselves in the foot, since Apple requires developers to submit their software for pre-approval in an attempt to prevent hacking.
How to Protect Your Smartphone from Hackers
Luckily, there are several measures you can take to protect yourself and your smartphone from malicious software that is designed to steal personal details.
First and foremost, be sure that you keep your phone updated with the most recent version of its operating system, and use a program like Lookout, which is designed to block known malware.
Secondly, remember that your smartphone is a handheld computer. You might use it for financial transactions and email, and if you’re like most people, you probably surf the web with it. Besides this, you might keep personal photos and music files, or even important documents on your phone. Be sure not to do anything with your iPhone, Droid, or other phone that you would not do with your PC. That includes the following:
- Be careful about which sites you visit. Pornographic sites are well-known trouble spots, as are some games and even some calculators. If you’re wondering about an app, try looking it up to see what it’s all about before downloading it.
- Don’t answer text messages from unfamiliar sources. A recent malware program was linked to a service that sent quizzes via text message. This program and others like it can rack up additional charges, sending your money straight into criminals’ pockets.
- Just like with your PC, don’t open emails that do not appear to be from a trusted source. If an email looks suspicious to you, trust your instincts!
Third, never download apps that don’t come from a verifiable, trusted source. This particularly applies to Android users, as apps for Droids are currently monitored very loosely. They can go straight from the developer to the market, without being checked by authorities. Google has removed more than 100 malicious apps from its Android Marketplace, one of which was downloaded more than 260,000 times before it was taken down.
These are just a few examples of how you can keep your smartphone safe. Remember to change your passwords frequently, and be sure to password protect your phone, instead of leaving it unlocked. Remember that the bad guys are tech-savvy, and that they want one thing – your money. By staying a step ahead of them, and taking advantage of security measures designed to protect your information, you can prevent yourself from becoming a target for criminal activity.
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