7 Tips to prevent mobile malware

A photograph of a laptop, notebook, and smartphone on a wooden desk. During the first few months of 2022, mobile malware attacks surged by 500%. In addition,  over 60% of digital fraud now occurs through mobile devices.

Mobile phones now do many of the same functions as a computer. Yet, people tend to secure their computers better than their smartphones. That makes them highly risky if proper safeguards aren't followed.

So what can you do to protect your smartphone? We've mapped out seven practices to help secure your mobile device.

For over 25 years, WEBIT Services has helped clients discover and apply effective security practices. It is passionate about knowledge, education, and online safety.

By reading this article, you will learn seven practices that can help you keep your smartphone secure.

7 Tips to improve the security of your smartphone

1. Use mobile anti-malware

Malware can and does infect smartphones and tablets. Therefore, you must ensure a reliable mobile anti-malware app is installed.

And beware of free security apps. Malware is often hidden inside free apps. These apps are ironically supposed to make you more secure, while, in actuality, they are stealing data and causing problems.

2. Don't download apps from unknown sources

Only download mobile apps from trusted sources. Do not download outside of a trusted app store. Trusted app stores include places like:

  • Apple App Store
  • Google Play
  • The Microsoft Store
  • Amazon Appstore

Before downloading a new app, you should research the app developer to ensure that they have a good reputation. This will help you avoid dangerous apps.

Once you download a malware-infused app to your phone, it can infect it with malware. That malware can remain behind even if you delete the app later.

3. Don't assume that email is safe

Many people prefer checking email on their phone rather than PC because it's so handy. However, many often have a false sense of security about the safety of emails when viewed on a mobile device.

You can't assume an email is safe just because you're not on your computer. So be just as wary of unexpected and scam emails on your phone as you are on your computer.

Previewing links can help you better identify spam emails. However, it's challenging to hover over a link without clicking when on a smartphone. If you see something questionable and want to check the link, open the email on your PC where you can hover over the link and preview its destination.

4. Beware of SMS Phishing (aka "smishing")

In March of 2022, text spam outpaced robocalls. Unwanted text messages rose by 30%, ten percent higher than robocalls. Many of those spam texts are smishing.

Smishing is the text version of phishing. These texts usually contain malicious links, and cybercriminals can potentially breach your device if you click them.

A smishing message may also ask you to text back personal information. Never text sensitive information without confirming the source. For example, your bank will never ask you to text your social security number to verify your account.

Be on the lookout for text messages that don't quite make sense. For instance, getting a shipping notification when you haven't ordered anything.

Beware of texts from unknown sources.

Phishing via text message is a new and growing concern, but many users are unaware that smishing exists.

5. Remove old apps you no longer use

Approximately 2.6 million apps haven't been updated in a year or more. In addition, apps are often abandoned by the developer. Updates often address security vulnerabilities in applications. Without updates, applications create security risks.

Hackers seek out these types of vulnerabilities to exploit.

With this in mind, remove old applications you are no longer using. They potentially put your device at risk.

You should also check the app's update history. You may consider replacing that app if it's been over a year since its last update.

6. Keep your device updated

In addition to updating applications, you must keep your device's operating system (OS) updated. If you're not installing OS updates, your phone has vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities allow hackers to breach your data.

7. Use a VPN when on public WiFi

Public WiFi is dangerous. You can connect to public WiFi with less risk if you use a VPN application.

VPNs stand between your device and the internet. They route your data through a secure server. This keeps your information safe from prying eyes lurking on public WiFi.

Next steps toward mobile security

Cyberattacks on mobile devices are on the rise. Luckily, cybersecurity continues to evolve to protect users from cybercriminals.

Users can take the following seven steps to help protect data on their mobile devices:

  1. Use mobile anti-malware
  2. Don't download apps from unknown sources
  3. Don't assume that email is safe
  4. Beware of SMS Phishing (aka "smishing")
  5. Remove old apps you no longer use
  6. Keep your device updated
  7. Use a VPN when on public WiFi

If you have additional questions about mobile device security practices, talk to your IT provider or internal IT team. They can educate employees or help create procedures to help keep your company devices and data safe.

WEBIT Services has educated clients in cybersecurity and has helped clients establish effective security procedures.

If you are looking for a new IT provider, schedule a free 30-minute consultation to see how WEBIT Services can help.

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