Friday, March 20, 2015

How To Protect Your Android Based Smartphone Or Tablet From Malware

Thirty years ago the development of computer malware was confined to mischievous college students and other creative individuals. The malware was very limited - spread mostly by floppy disk. Today Cyber Crime is an International Multi-Million Dollar Business, and the tricks of the trade are spread worldwide via the Internet.

Viruses, Trojans, Malware and Ransomware etc. have always targeted specific operating systems. Windows based computers have generally been a much bigger problem than Macs. For many years Malware infection on a Mac was considered impossible. We now know that it is most certainly possible, just not as likely. Why is this? Is OS X a more secure operating system? Perhaps, but the most likely reason is quantity. The number of OS X based Macs is minuscule compared to the installed base of Windows machines. So, if you are out to make money, you spend your time creating Malware to infect Windows.

Fast forward to the present where mobile devices are becoming ubiquitous. The Iphone is one of the most popular smartphones, however, the number of IPhones, worldwide, pales in comparison to the number of Android based devices. Once again the most prolific, is the target. IPhones (running a closed OS) are very secure and the Apple App Store is carefully curated. Until recently, the Google Play store has not had a similar watchdog. Consequently, Android (a more open OS) has been a hugh target. This does not mean that you should dump your Android device and opt for IOS. There are many compelling reasons why you might choose Android, but you should take precautions.

So, here are a few simple security tips, for those that love their Android based device.


  1. Get your Apps from a legitimate App Store - Google Play, Amazon, Samsung, etc. The apps in these repositories are much more likely to be malware free.
  2. Checkout the reviews and do a little "homework" before installing "sideloading" an App from an unknown vendor or developer.
  3. Stay away from pirated apps.
  4. While it is not always possible to run the latest version of Android on your device, update your device as soon as the new build becomes available.
  5. Install an antivirus app. The Google Play Store is replete with excellent choices from many of the major vendors - Avast, Bit Defender, AVG, Sophos, TrendMicro, Lookout, TrustGo and Malwarebytes to name a few. Many offer a free version - and that may be entirely sufficient for your needs. I like Bit Defender. It is free, simple, clean, effective and unobtrusive. Give it a try.