How to Avoid Malware and Fully Protect Yourself
Did you know that your phone can be attacked by malware? No matter if you’re an iPhone or Android user, you should know that your phone can be at risk. Although mobile phones cannot get the general viruses found on your PC, they can be targeted by malware. So what does malware do to your mobile device? The answer is a little different depending on whether you’re an iOS or an Android user.
Due to the fact that iPhone use apps that can only be accessed through the official App Store it is much less likely that they will permit malicious software that could attack your phone. These apps are also “sandboxed”, which just means that they are unable to access data from your other apps or break into the iOS operating system.
That being said, there are many users who jailbreak their phones and all of those security walls suddenly disappear. With a jailbroken iPhone you can download apps from sources outside of the App Store, but as far as malware is concerned, all bets are off.
Android malware can come in various forms including that of spyware, gathering your most personal data and selling it to third parties or even ransomware. This means your files get held and a ransom is requested in order for you to get them back. Imagine that!
So how to avoid malware? The best thing is to know what to avoid in order to keep your phone fully protected and also invest in one of the best performing antivirus programs available. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about both.
Top Tips for Android Users to Avoid Malware
Don’t Disregard the Reviews
Think about, you wouldn’t just go and test out a restaurant before reading its Yelp review or buy a couch before testing it out to find out how comfortable it is. This is why it is incredibly important to read some reviews before you download your next app. Why? People may not be likely to always leave positive feedback if they’re happy with an app, but you can be sure they will sing it from the rooftops if that particular app gained them malware.
Don’t Forget to Check Your Sources
This is one of the primary points that gets Android users on-side. There are a million options when it comes to which apps you can download onto your device and it’s fairly simple to get your hands on those apps located outside of the trusted Google Market.
It’s not that all third-party app sources are bad, it’s just that most are. If they’re really that great you are more likely to find them on an official app platform. So, what does that mean for Android users? Your best bet when downloading a new app is to source it from the official Google Android Market, or at least from other trusted platforms like the Amazon App Store.
Take that extra step in protecting your device by selecting “unknown sources” in your Android Application Settings.
Don’t Ignore the Small Print
Your Android operating system will usually have enough security active that any apps will have to ask you for permission to access various functions and data found on your phone. Think microphone, photo gallery, contact list etc.
Next time you download a new app really think about how much information that app needs to get from you, instead of just blindly hitting accept. Does your favorite word game really need to have access to your location information or your camera? Didn’t think so.
Avoid Free Malware and Downloadable Virus Scanners
It is best to avoid any form of security apps, bug scanners or virus scanners that you can find onto your smartphone. A lot of the time these apps, made to keep your phone secure, are usually bursting with Trojans and malicious code.
You can always find affordable options out there with trusted names that have been on the market for years. A small price to pay for peace of mind. Keep reading as we will discuss some of the best antivirus options for your phone soon.
Avoid Random Free Wifi Spots
It’s that magical word we all know and love, free. As much as it can help you out when traveling the world, free Wi-Fi can be as much of a burden as it is a blessing sometimes.
Offering you speedy and free internet access is great, but were you aware that hackers just love it when you use free Wi-Fi? The truth is as soon as you’re on the same network as them, they are able to see virtually all of the information that you are emitting to the internet. The best thing to do, if you can, is to avoid any random Wifi spots and stick to your own mobile connection.
If you’re switching from Apple to Android these tips also apply, so make sure to avoid possible mistakes and keep your device safe.
Top Tips for iPhone Users to Avoid Malware
Do NOT Jailbreak Your Phone
This cannot be stressed enough. Customizing your phone is great, and unfortunately, the only way for iPhone users to do so is to jailbreak their phone. Although it doesn’t guarantee that you will contract malware on your iPhone when you jailbreak it, the risk is most certainly there. If you just cannot help yourself, know that Cydia is one of the most trusted installers for jailbroken iPhones. It has been around for a while and has a reputation for quality.
Don’t Connect to Random Computers
If you didn’t know, your iPhone can get infected with malware just by connecting it to a computer which is also infected. Even some wall outlets can be tampered with. Of course charging your phone at a friend’s house won’t be an issue, however, you should be careful when plugging your phone in at malls, public buildings, airports and any location that is high in traffic.
Don’t Be Blind to Unknown Profiles
Developers often use configuration profiles which can help you set up apps or even connect to various networks. Although they can be helpful, they can also prove as a point of entry to your phone. Make sure to occasionally check out those profiles in your general settings section and delete any profiles that you don’t recall installing.
Don’t Neglect to Update Your Phone
Know that iOS and your device are trying to stay on top of things when it comes to malware. This is why you should always hit the update button as it becomes available to you. It is said that updating to the latest version of your operating system will keep your phone in check and immune to more than 75% of malware out there.
Top Antivirus Protection Programs for your Phone
McAfee was founded over 30 years ago and has grown to be one of the biggest names in antivirus software. When it comes to securing your devices McAfee has an impressive list of features such as anti-theft, antivirus as well as malicious URL blocking possibilities. The great thing about this security option is that it has intuitive navigation and a simplified interface.
This is the perfect choice for those people that don’t have much technical knowledge, but still want to protect their devices without being overwhelmed by fancy technical terms.
McAfee antivirus has scored well in independent tests for malware blocking and the software will not block safe programs or files. There is excellent customer support with round-the-clock live chat available for McAfee customers.
Protecting your mobile device, McAfee will monitor the apps you install, letting you know of any potential privacy issues. It will also search for apps that suspiciously have access to sensitive information. If your device gets lost you can always send a custom message letting the person know how they can return it as well as deleting your call logs, photos, videos, contacts and clear your SD card if you believe that will not happen.
Allow McAfee to protect you from malware with features like:
- Quick scan
- Deep scan
- Detection of malicious apps
- Detection of unsecured WiFi
- Locate your stolen phone
- Clean memory
- Remove junk files
- Boost battery
- Help buttons and tutorials for each feature
- Excellent anti-theft
- Scheduled scans
- Real-time scan
- Internal and external file scanning
You can get McAfee Mobile Security here, and take a look at an in-depth review here.
Thanks to its cloud-based technology, you can enjoy the benefits of having peace of mind when it comes to mobile security. If your phone is lost or gets stolen, you can rest easy in knowing that you will be able to locate it via Google Maps.
If you have children constantly using your mobile data you can engage the “app locker” feature which will protect any of your apps with passwords. Automatic scans can be run on a daily or weekly basis, or you can set them manually. AVG will check web content, SMS and emails for malware.
Theftie is another great feature offered by the app which takes a selfie of anyone trying to unlock your phone and sends it to you via email.
AVG Antivirus entails:
- Kills tasks and processes slowing your phone down
- Cleans unnecessary files to free up storage space
- Website scanning for harmful threats
- Wifi scanner
- Scans apps, games and files for malicious content
- Locates your stolen phone via Google Maps
- Phone locking
- Makes your phone sound a siren
- Theftie – emails you photos of people trying to unlock your phone
You can get AVG Antivirus here, and check out the full review here.
The Bottom Line
So, now you know how to avoid malware when switching from Apple to Android. In addition to using an antivirus, there are always precautions you can take when protecting your phone. No matter if you own an Android or iOS device, malware is always something you need to be wary of.
Getting your hands on a trusted antivirus program will give you peace of mind, so don’t think twice about protecting your personal information.
It seems like I might be better off with skipping the switchover, and I’ve downloaded too many dodgy apps in the past.
As an Android user, I can tell you that using your brain for something other than a hatrack is the best way to avoid malware infection. Don’t download suspect apps and stick to trusted sources for the legit apps. The trouble usually comes when users get cute in where they download apps or they install any and everything on their phone. Just like PCs, if you install junk on your Android, it will eventually become junk.
Why would anyone want to switch from iPhone to Android??? Are you joking??? hahahaha
I’m thinking about making the switch but want to give my iPhone to a family member when I’m done with it. Is there any risk that my iPhone is going to be come ‘cross-contaminated’ by a virus or whatever that is on the Android? Giving my brother a phone that’s crippled by malware seems like a jerk thing to do, lol
Hi! We appreciate your concern for your brother’s future phone. While Android devices do tend to be slightly more vulnerable to viruses and malware than iPhones, we haven’t heard of cases where there is any cross-contamination. To have that happen you’d need to have a live connection between the two phones and be constantly streaming information between them. You should definitely look into malware protection for your new phone, but your iPhone should remain safe even if you transfer your contacts and other important data from your old iPhone.
Great article but I am not ready to make the switch from iPhone. But you got me wondering if I need something extra for it. I spent a lot of money on the X and I don’t want to see it hacked. I heard iOS is stronger than Android, so is extra protection in the form of antivirus software really necessary?
Hi, and thanks for the great question! Indeed, iOS is known as a highly secure operating system, and there are few known attacks for it. However, if you’re concerned, and want to make absolutely sure your phone is safe against any attacks, an antivirus is a great tool considering it can provide you with both protection and peace of mind. Keep in mind that even the safest systems have been hacked before, so adding a layer of protection may be a small price to pay to keep your phone in top shape for as long as possible. Let us know how it goes with your iPhone!