Mobile users today have to be vigilant when it comes to protecting their smartphone or tablet.
No longer are malware, viruses and phishing attacks confined to desktop and laptop computers. As the devices have become more popular and advanced, cybercriminals are devising attacks to infect smartphones and tablets and steal confidential information.
For companies, this trend presents yet another vulnerability for data breaches, while consumer users may be at risk of identity theft. Luckily for both, there are ways for mobile users to protect themselves and their devices through data security measures and best practices.
"Malware is out there, and it targets personal information that you really don't want some bad guy to get his hands on," contributor Bill Snyder recently wrote for Computerworld.
Traditionally, hackers target what's popular, and they have haven't changed this strategy when it comes to mobile devices. Google's Android mobile operating system, the top platform on the market, is constantly under attack. The DroidDream malware was uncovered earlier this year, and several variants have since worked their way into the Android market.
The Computerworld report recognized the need for better mobile security in a new report that outlined tips all users can follow.
For starters, mobile users should only download well-known applications from reputable publishers. This is easy for Apple users, as the company's screening process for mobile apps is the most strict on the market. Android users must be a bit more careful. As DroidDream proved, it's not too difficult for a hacker to slip a malicious app into the Android Market.
By focusing on apps from publishers with whom they are familiar, mobile users can reduce the risk of downloading a malicious program.
It's also important to keep an eye on wireless bills, the Computerworld report argued. Many rogue apps cause a device to place expensive calls to foreign numbers or send SMS messages without the user's knowledge. If a wireless bill suddenly spikes above normal, chances are good that a device is infected with malware.
The stream of malware attacking Android devices picked up during the past several weeks, with the discovery of ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.A, ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.B and ANDROIDOS_NICKISPY.C. All three are strains of a single malware that records the voice calls on an infected device and sends the stolen information to an unknown location.