Protect your mobile, protect yourself.
WE protect our homes with keys, our cars with alarms, our banking with PINs and our computers with virus protection. So, why do we leave our mobile phones open and exposed?
Because we haven’t had cause for alarm. Yet. Mobile phones are the new frontier for cyber criminals, according to the latest research from McAfee Security.
But phone viruses have been around since 2005, when the Nokia Symbian Series 60 messaging system became a widespread SMS-forwarding virus victim, utilising the user’s address book to spread the link to all contacts. Bluetooth technology was soon exploited as a virus-spreading tool with 2005’ s Cabir virus, which used a phone’s Bluetooth capabilities to seek out other phones nearby and distribute itself, disguised as a security scan.
More recently, smartphone viruses have been employed to hijack a user’s Facebook password and update their status with spam links. As mobile technology has developed, so too have security flaws. Smartphones are now prey for Trojans just like computers are – programs pretending to be something else, like a free app or game, which tricks the user into installing it.
Another danger is data-harvesting malware that can be downloaded and installed without being noticed.
The problem is that most smartphone users forget that their handy mobile gadget is a computer, and they take many risks that they wouldn’t on a computer, like downloading free software ( apps) from unknown publishers.
Free apps are tantalising and there are a lot of them. To be safer, before you hit ‘‘ download’’, look at the permissions that the app asks for very carefully – and decide whether you think the app actually needs them.