Tips for Protecting your Smart Phone or Tablet from Malware
Image courtesy of Rick

Image courtesy of Rick

Most everyone who uses a computer is well aware of the serious threats posed by malware, but few among us give much thought to protecting our smart phones and tablets from hackers and malicious programs as well.

Mobile devices are relatively small gadgets that don’t really resemble what we have all come to recognize as a typical computer system, but in reality that is exactly what they are. Inside that little case are a CPU and memory chips that process and store computer programs (apps) as well as an operating system (Android, iOS, etc,) just like their big desktop and laptop-style cousins. And  like all computers, smart phones and tablets are susceptible to hacking and malware attacks.

Until recently mobile devices have been pretty much ignored as targets for the miscreants who enjoy and profit from spreading malware, but that is no longer the case due to the proliferation of such devices in the marketplace. Nowadays, virtually everyone owns at least one mobile device, and the hackers are taking notice.

In general, the measures we can take in order to keep our mobile devices safe from malware attacks are the same as with computers:

1 – Never visit a link in an email unless you are intimately familiar with the website the link will take you to. “Drive-by” downloads are a preferred method of distributing malware because most of us are so used to clicking on links throughout our Internet sessions.

2 – It’s also wise to refrain from opening any email attachments unless you were expecting to receive them AND/OR you trust the people who sent them to you AND you are certain the the email was actually sent by the person indicated in the “From” line. Hackers love to send emails with spoofed return addresses because they know we all trust our friends not to send us anything malicious.

3 – Be mindful about the types of websites you visit. Porn sites are notorious for placing malware on their visitors’ devices, and they often use names and web addresses for their sites that give no clue as to the true nature of the site. What sounds like an innocent, useful website could easily be a porn site in disguise. If you’re ever unsure about a URL that you see listed in an email or online post, type the URL into Google and read the description of the site before visiting it.

The suggestions above will go a long way towards protecting your mobile device from malware infections, but regardless of how diligent we are viruses can still slip through on occasion. That’s why it’s also a good idea to download and install a high quality anti-malware app for your smart phone and tablet. Here are three of the best, and they are all free:

1 – Lookout Mobile Security – This is an excellent anti-malware app that runs on all Android devices as well as iPhone, iPad, Amazon Kindle Fire. This is the app that I use on my devices and enthusiastically recommend.

2 – Avast Mobile Security – Avast has been a leader in the computer anti-virus market for years, and now they offer a very capable version for your Android device as well.

3 – Trend Micro Smart Surfing – Like Avast, Trend Micro has been providing top tier anti-virus protection for computers for a long time, and you can now download their free Smart Surfing app for your iPhone.

Conclusion: Mobile devices are now directly in the cross hairs of hackers and thieves, but the tips listed above can help keep your smart phones and tablets virus free.

[author ]Rick Rouse is an A+ Certified PC Tech with over two decades of experience in the industry. Visit him at for more great Tech Tips.[/author]

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