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Android Device Security - Protect Yourself From Malware

You probably know that to protect yourself online, you need an antivirus. With millions of types of viruses and malware lurking on the internet, everyone now uses an antivirus. But what your probably not aware of, is that your phone is also at risk.

The most recently discovered malware is a modified version of Cynos. It has been found in over 190 apps and is potentially affecting 10 million devices. Its designed specifically to steal sensitive user data such as passwords, private photos and banking data. Cynos is one of many different types of malware that might affect your Android device.

Malware on Android devices is relatively easy to avoid. One of the major, and most exploited ways of getting a virus on your Android device is by downloading an app from a third-party website or app store.

Apps on Android devices are installed using .APK files, similar to how you might use an .EXE file on a computer to install a program. It is these .APK files that may contain a virus. I must add, that not all third-party apps or websites have APK’s that contain malware, but you are much more likely to download an APK containing malware by using those sites.

The safest way of downloading apps to an Android device will always be using the Google Play store directly as it has a feature called Play Protect. This automatically scans all apps you download to make sure they are virus-free. Google Play also has an additional protection in that all apps are checked securely by Google before they are aloud to appear in the app store.

The best way to ensure unknown apps aren’t installed, is to ensure the setting that enables this, is turned off. It is off by default in Android, but I would recommend double checking this. You will find the setting under security;

An additional way of protecting yourself is by using an antivirus. Some devices have an app called device security built in, and has already been running away in the background protecting your device. For those that don’t, many big-name antivirus providers that you will probably recognise also make software for your phone. Antivirus software is available from Bitdefender, Kaspersky, McAfee, Avast, AVG, Trend Micro, Symantec and many more. It pays to be picky though, as research by AV-Comparatives found that two-thirds of Android Antiviruses don’t work as intended. All of those suggested above perform well, as do many others, however caution is advised when choosing.

iPhones are much less likely to be targeted as they only make up 15% of devices across the world, compared to Androids 80% market share. It’s easy to see why criminals predominantly target Android devices. If you have an iPhone, you get a good level of protection from Apple as the only way you can download apps on an iPhone is via the App Store. If you have a jailbroken iPhone, the risk increases substantially and the above advice for Android phones also applies.

As ever, 100% protection against malware just isn’t possible. So, as an insurance policy against malware, we recommend regularly backing up your device to ensure you can recover if malware does get onto your device. And if you must download apps from a third-party app store or other website, we recommend you apply a good dose of common sense along with a reputable anti-virus to ensure your data remains as safe as possible.

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