Monday, January 21, 2013

You Should Put Antivirus Software on Your Phone

You Should Put Antivirus Software on Your Phone

There were nearly 15,000 new smartphone malware programs detected between April and June 2012. It's time to get some protection.


It seems like Android viruses have been more and more common lately, but I don't know anyone who's gotten one. Still, I don't want my phone getting infected. Is it worth installing antivirus software?

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: probably, unless you spend so much time vetting each app you install that you're completely confident it's legitimate and virus-free.

It was only a matter of time before malware makers started targeting smartphones, which emphasize Internet use—including downloading apps. According to a Pew Internet report released last July, 55 percent of cellphone owners go online using their phones. So for malware and spyware makers, getting onto smartphones is savvy business. Apple hasn't approved any antivirus software to be distributed through its App Store and insists that a combination of hardware, firmware, and OS features makes malware attacks virtually impossible—and so far, that closed system has kept viruses out. Meanwhile, malware is thriving on Android devices. There are two primary types of Android viruses: Trojans, which send SMS messages to premium numbers, and spyware, which sends information—contacts, for instance—from the phone to the spyware's developer. These kinds of viruses are proliferating quickly. According to Kaspersky Lab, a maker of antivirus software, there were 14,923 new smartphone malware programs detected between April and June 2012.

While there's nothing that will protect your phone completely, there are plenty of decent antivirus apps, and many of them are free. Last March, AV-Test, an independent antivirus research institute, tested the efficacy of 41 apps against 20 pieces of malware and spyware. Free apps from Avast, Dr.Web, Kaspersky, and Lookout were among the Top 10 most effective, detecting 90 percent or more of the malware introduced. In general, to guard against that other 10 percent—and for malware that hasn't yet been identified by app developers—don't download unofficial versions of apps, and try to get apps only through the Google Play store. In other words, use common sense.

Read more: You Should Put Antivirus Software on Your Phone - Android Virus Malware - Popular Mechanics 

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