How to Defend Against Malware on Android Smartphones & Tablets
Google Android is the most commonly used operating system (OS) on smartphones. But it is also the most frequently attacked OS by malicious software, or malware. This can take the form of computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses or spyware. Apps can be created by any user online, including hackers, who can secretly embed malware to infect users’ phones.
Here are several things you can do to help protect your Android smartphone or tablet from malware:
- Download apps only from the Google Play Store . Google has an entire tech department dedicated to investigating apps and hunting down malware. The occasional bad app will slip through their net but it’s far less risky than downloading smartphone apps anywhere else.
- Scrutinize app reviews and ratings. You want an app that has 5-star ratings and positive reviews, but hackers can fake this information too, using a Trojan horse. Check for repeated and/or very short reviews – this can indicate fake content.
- Investigate the app’s creators. Businesses evaluate the developers of the apps they use. This is good practice for your personal devices as well. Research them online. Often a bad app will be flagged on a message board before it’s pulled from the app stores.
- Examine app permissions. Each app will request to access certain functions of your device. Think twice about downloading the app if permissions are attached to personal information, and make sure the access requested correlates to the app. If you are downloading a calculator app, why do they need to access your camera? Some of the riskier permissions to allow are:
- Saving your data
- Taking photos
- Recording audio
Extra attention to these details will reduce the risk of malware attacks to your Android smartphone or tablet.