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Viruses & Spyware

Many people believe that smartphones and tablets are not susceptible to viruses, spyware and other malware. This is certainly not the case ... in fact the more people that use these devices, and the more apps that are available for them, the greater the level of harmful and criminal activity.  

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  • Download a reputable antivirus/antispyware app, especially if you have an Android or Windows device. 
  • Purchase and download apps only from recognised sources. 

The Risks 

Viruses and spyware can attack your smartphone or tablet via the following means:

  • Downloading from websites that have either deliberately or accidentally been infected by virus.
  • Downloading apps which are infected. These include apps which are downloaded from the device or operating system’s official store, and increasingly, fake stores which have been set up solely for the purpose of distributing malware.
  • Connecting your device to a computer, for example in order to install updates, sync and load music.

Viruses and spyware can cause very serious consequences including:

  • Identity theft from apps working in the background to steal personal information stored on the phone.
  • Fraud from apps working in the background to steal personal information stored on the phone.
  • Premium rate calls and text messages being sent from your phone without your knowledge. 
  • Deletion and corruption of data.
  • A slow or unusable device.
  • Decreased battery life.

Your device could be just carrying a virus – which could then be passed on to other devices (such as computers) via email. 

Protecting your Mobile Device

iPhone and BlackBerry devices have extremely good built-in safeguards against malware. You can, however, install third-party apps and browsers to enhance security. 

Android and Windows devices, however, are more vulnerable to malware and for this reason we recommend that you install one of the many reputable antivirus / antispyware apps now available on the market. These include products made by Norton by Symantec, BulGuard and Kaspersky. It is important to download updates for security apps as soon as you are prompted to guard against new malware.

  • Always check the security settings in your device to ensure maximum protection. 
  • Periodically check on your service provider’s website for updates for your make and model of smartphone or tablet
  • Before connecting your device to a computer, ensure your computer has the latest antivirus/antispyware and firewall installed and running. 
  • When setting up mobile banking, make sure any apps you download for the purpose are published by your bank. 
  • Be vigilant against fake stores when downloading apps - do so only from recognised sources.

Additional information

If you have been a victim of, or are aware of premium charge scams, contact www.phonepayplus.org.uk

See also...

 

Spam and Scam Emails
A few simple rules about dealing with spam and scam emails.

Webmail
Using the internet to send and receive email safely.

Safe Internet Use
Some valuable tips on using the internet safely.

Downloading & File Sharing
Simple measures needed to safeguard you when browsing and downloading. 

 

Software Updates
Software updates are essential. Find out why and how to install correctly.

Windows Updates
Everything you need to know about operating system updates.

 

 

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