Now that smartphones are getting smarter and smarter, the amount of things we can accomplish on the road has grown tremendously. As we now use our phones to access our bank accounts, our Facebook page, and any number of other accounts that a malicious person is just itching to get their hands on.
Don’t be under the false assumption that malware (aka viruses) only infect PC’s. Really it all depends on the platform the malware creators decide to write the programs for. Malware creators want to infect the largest number and broadest scope of people. They will even have contests on who can infect the most people. If the majority of the people use a PC, that’s what they will write the program for. As more people use smart phones for their computing needs, more viruses will start to be written for the most popular phone’s platform.
News hit this week that a fake Netflix app hit the Android Marketplace. Android users have been quite anxious to get Netflix on their phones. The real Netflix app arrived, along with a not so legit Netflix app. They look almost identical. They will both ask you for your login information right away. On the fake app it will then tell you (after you login) that your hardware is incompatible, and you need to reinstall. This is when the rogue app will grab your Netflix username and pass. While the most you’ll really lose is your Netflix username and password, it’s easily fixed by logging into Netflix on your computer and changing your password. Other malware apps may not be so nice though!
When you are installing an app from any marketplace, make sure to read the reviews first. Even if it’s not malware, you may just find that the app is horrible and you shouldn’t waste your time on installing it anyway. If you are finding an official looking app, make sure to read very closely who has created the app. For a Netflix app, the developer should be Netflix, Inc. I say read it carefully, because if you read it fast, you could be seeing an l when really the letter is a number 1 (L and One).
Another way to make sure you aren’t installing something malicious is to read the fine print. Does that To Do list app really need access to all of your contacts? Read what you are granting your applications access to, and make sure it makes sense.
A friend of mine asked on Facebook, if I recommended any particular security software for Android? Well, as a matter of fact I do. In researching for another project I found Lookout Mobile Security. I loved their feature set and user interface.
So good luck and stay safe out there!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com