If you’re the proud parent of a mobile device then you should probably realise by now that these pocket rats are much too mobile for their own good. It’s a big bad world out there and these mini-computers are not just at risk of falling and cracking, or dunking and drowning, but are also susceptible to serious infection. Just because they don’t have feet doesn’t mean they won’t get around – they make use of yours just fine. And therein lies the problem.
They can get sick
Androids, iPhones, and Windows Phones are out all day connecting to this Wi-Fi hotspot and that, downloading these new updates, installing this funky app, and buying some gold bars for my Candy Crush. All these activities expose the little one to a host of non-physical ailments. Malware in the mobile device market is now a reality and just as anti-virus software is meant to keep your home computer clean, so the same should be considered for them.
Avast, famous for their desktop computer anti-virus software, have been quoted saying that the biggest risk to mobile data security is not malware, but unauthorised access. This type of unwanted access can happen in a few ways: the device is lost, it gets stolen, or you are hacked. A knee-jerk reaction to this might be, “I don’t have anything valuable on my phone”, or “I only use my tablet for reading.” Unfortunately, by their very technologically integrated nature, mobile devices are connected to the internet in some form or another. It’s this sobering fact that’s forcing anti-virus providers to seriously rethink the whole detect-and-disinfect approach. Prevention is the new cure.
The anti-virus component to a holistic device security solution is actually taking a back seat to things like app security and permissions, data backups, and even remote wipes. Staying with the times, the Next Gen anti-virus software will increasingly include these important capabilities as part of the package:
1. App security
There is an increasing number of utilities available for download that allow you to directly manage permissions required by other apps. When an app asks for access to your Contacts, think about whether it really needs it. If you don’t agree, go and disable it in your new permissions Manager. You’ll soon find out whether it really needs it. And speaking of downloading apps: take note of the security setting on your phone that limits downloads from unknown sources (Google Play and iTunes would be considered ‘known’ sources). This takes care of nosy parkers getting into your private data.
2. Data backups
So what if the device gets stolen or you happen to leave it lying on the tube? Keep your data safe. Most populate anti-virus software providers will have some form of cloud sync/backup capability. If you can’t find it, there’s always Drop Box. Consider keeping the important stuff backed up somewhere safe. Make sure it’s really safe though.
3. Remote wipes
Now that you’re getting a handle on who does what on your phone and you’ve also managed to get some form of backup going, consider having the ultimate power over your phone or tablet from a distance by using the “remote wipe”. It comes in handy when there’s no hope of a mobile device returning home for the holidays. The anti-virus software lets you configure the command of wiping the private contents off your phone at the click of a button from a desktop computer of your convenience. Now imagine the burglar’s sad face as they see your gold bars disappear before their eyes.
Stay safe out there and remember to look up every so often. It really helps with the tech neck.