As smartphones become more technologically advanced and cheaper, more and more young professionals are using them worldwide. Business information, social media accounts, email, images and all sorts of data are stored on these mobile devices. But this data is often sensitive business or personal information, and while it is useful to have so much information at your fingertips, it also leaves the user open to mobile security threats.
That means smartphone antivirus protection is now vital for young professionals. Mobile threats target data such as credit card numbers, secondary authentication information — a safety measure used in online banking, Gmail and Facebook, especially if the device is logging in from a new device or location — private information, or personal media such as images and video.
They may not seem like it, but contemporary smartphones are effectively small computers, and are equally vulnerable to malware attacks. The malware aims to exploit weaknesses in mobile communication through wifi networks, text messaging and also through browsers or operating systems.
A Kapersky Labs survey noted that only 43 percent of Apple iPhone users have security applications, while more — 53 percent — of Android and Symbian users had protection.
But it's Android users with the most to worry about, as Kaspersky research shows that 99 percent of all mobile malware detected was designed for the Android platform.
As Google's Android system is open-source software, meaning it is free for anyone to download and develop apps, it is more vulnerable to the threats of malware. In contrast, Apple requires developers to get a license and go through an application to use the iOS software, so its apps are less susceptible to malware. However, that is not to say they are completely secure from mobile threats; because of those strict app development rules, developers are never able to create comprehensive protection for iOS devices.
To protect against mobile malware, a variety of free mobile security software is available for download from Android's Google Play Store and Apple's App Store. Users can also employ the following methods to enhance their mobile security:
- Create a strong password
Users can create a password on their smartphone. If a password attempt fails a certain number of times, the phone will lock, disable, and in some cases even erase all data.
- Be wary of text messages
Text messages are an easy target for mobile malware, so it's advisable for users not to send sensitive data such as credit card details or important private information by text.
- Check your browser for the lock symbol
The lock icon in the browser's address bar indicates that you are on a secure and reputable connection. Check for this when entering personal data such as your address or payment information or sending emails from your mobile browser.
- Ensure your apps are from reputable sources
Popular shopping sites such as Amazon or eBay have their own mobile applications. If you seek to use these apps, check to see they are the official apps from the company before you initiate a download. This can be done by checking the developer information and user ratings on the download page.