When you think about hackers and malware, what normally comes to mind is probably the Windows operating system and all of the malware attacks that are targeted at it. However, this is at no fault of the Windows operating system itself, but instead is due to the popularity of the system and the value that a hacker gains by creating an effective hack against it. Apple users, for the most part, have been malware-free because of their low value to hackers.
Well in the case of smartphones, Android is the next Windows system, in that it’s getting the bulk of malware targeting it. At the moment, research by Juniper Networks found a 472% increase in Android malware samples since July 2011, and it’s only expected to rise in 2012. Though the level of malware out there continues to grow, however, it seems that not all is lost for Android users. In fact, if you as an Android user continue to use common sense in how you use your smar phone, such as downloading apps from trusted sources (like the app store as opposed to off some file-sharing site on the web), and give permission to legitimate-looking apps to do what they’re supposed to (as opposed to giving text messaging rights to some “game” you downloaded online).
And what if you are one of the people that like to download apps from these not-so-safe sources? Do the anti-virus or malware protection apps you have running on your device really protect you? As it turns out: no, not really. These security apps do provide some useful features like backing up your data, remote wipe, remote lock, and even GPS tracking, but when it comes to protecting you against the latest forms of malware, LifeHacker.com says they can be helpful, but definitely nothing like the real anti-virus and security software of personal computers.
So if you want to keep your smartphone malware and hacker proof, don’t rely so much on your anti-virus apps; instead, use common sense in deciding which apps you should download and from where.