Handling (and Avoiding!) Malware on Smartphones and Tablets

Tech Tips

Handling (and Avoiding!) Malware on Smartphones and Tablets

Believe it or not, your smartphone and tablet can fall victim to malware (malicious software), just like a laptop or desktop computer. Most don’t think about mobile devices being at risk in the same way computers are, and this can certainly make us careless.

Although many mobile apps go through approval in the Google Play or the iTunes App Store (through which measures are taken to weed out nefarious programs), your device isn’t completely protected. Sometimes clicking a link or opening an unfamiliar file on your laptop or desktop computer can allow malware to travel to your mobile device when you plug in to sync and back up, which is usually after your personal information and passwords. Yikes!

How do you protect your devices from malware (viruses, worms, etc)?

  1. Only use mainstream, well-known app stores to download apps to your device.
  2. Read app reviews prior to downloading and consider programs with higher numbers of reviews over those with just a handful.
  3. Don’t jailbreak your device. You lose a lot of the protection from the manufacturer’s original settings when you do.
  4. Use the virus protection software on your regular computer.
  5. Don’t open unfamiliar files.
  6. If an email appears to come from a friend but seems a little “off” — a file you weren’t expecting, or strange spelling — check it out with the supposed sender before you click or open it.
  7. Don’t assume that using Apple devices protects you. When Apple had a more niche audience, fewer hackers bothered. We’ve seen a couple of viruses targeting Apple devices in recent years, and there are bound to be more.
  8. If you do get malware on Android, check out these steps to remove it.
  9. If you suspect a virus or malware, you can back up your device and restore it to factory settings.
  10. And, check with your device manufacturer. They can help clean your device and restore it to proper working order.