Computer viruses are manifested through software programs that replicate and infect other computers. Normally these are spread through emails and data transfer devices such as flash disks. Other than infecting your computer or laptop, viruses can be transferred to your cell phone, e-reader or tablet. So long as these gadgets can get into contact with the internet, they are always at risk. A viral attack can lead to a malfunction or expose your personal data such as the passwords you use. If an intruder gets hold of your password he/she can hack into your phone or emails.
There are three basic ways to steer clear of viruses:
- Avoid opening email attachments from people you don’t know
- Always use sites that are trusted when downloading files
- Scan suspect documents or devices that you use
Below are some measures you can take to prevent viruses from getting into your personal data:
1. Exercise caution when opening email attachments either from your phone or tablet. The same way you treat suspect attachments with caution when working from your computer should be replicated in other gadgets. If you get an email from someone who is not in your mailing list, don’t open it. Do the same in case the message title or sender’s name looks suspicious.
2. Be on the lookout for links that look questionable. These are normally sent through text or email messages. The people who send them are spammers or hackers. Some do this on purpose with the intention of establishing whether that email address has a user. Once you open it, some trigger is raised on their end and they get an opportunity to either spam your mail box or send viruses. Others may not be aware that their phones are infected. You can try sending a text to the sender to inquire whether he/she sent the link. If the person is genuine and honest you will get a response and an apology. Otherwise, delete such messages instantly.
3. With respect to applications, download only those that are legitimate. You can tell whether a store is legit by reading online reviews about it. Since there are many people looking for mobile phone applications, some malicious people have taken advantage by spreading viruses in form of fake games, social networking applications and financial tracking apps.
4. While using Bluetooth, apply undiscoverable settings. There are viruses that pass through Bluetooth connections. This is a tricky attack. If you walk near a device and your connection is in discoverable mode, the virus in the infected device can easily be transferred to your tablet or smartphone. Currently, there are some malicious viruses that disable your phone and steal your contact details.
5. In order to protect your smartphones, iPhones, e-readers and tablets download anti-virus applications. These can be obtained from trusted providers. Make sure the company you source the app from is well known. Examples include Lookout Mobile Security app and SmrtGuard Solutions’ Snap Secure app. These help protect iPhones as well as provide data backup. The applications are available from Lookout Inc. There are a host of many others.
6. For Android phones, you should be able to get reliable anti-virus such as Kaspersky Mobile Security app. This incorporates spam and virus protection. Other examples are Norton Mobile Security and Bullguard Mobile Security. These protect data during an attack, theft or loss of your phone. You can download them online.
7. Look for anti-virus applications that help secure your personal information from falling into the wrong hands. Some can help keep track of your phone while others rid your phone’s memory from a remote location. This works well when someone steals your phone.
Image Credit: jesadaphorn
Agency Fusion, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is an ad agency focused on the intersection of design and technology. They specialize in web design, web development, branding and software development. Learn more about Fusion Agency here.