Until recently, smartphones and mobile devices have seemed all but immune to viruses and malware. All of that changed in the summer of 2010, when the first round of viruses hit Androids and iPhones, two devices that were thought to be completely resistant to attacks. Even before the first attacks, companies had been busy making antivirus software for mobile devices. Is it something you should be thinking about too?
Why You Need Smartphone Antivirus Software
IT experts overwhelmingly agree that every mobile user needs some form of protection. We’ve been doing fine with just the default settings for a long time, but there are some serious reasons why this isn’t enough.
First of all, you’d never even think about using your personal computer without some form of protection. Why not consider it for your mobile? On our PCs, we keep sensitive information, including financial records and passwords. Increasingly, we’re using our mobile devices for the same thing.
In the last year, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of people using iPhones, Androids and other smartphones. There’s been an increase in not only personal use, but business use as well. Cyber criminals are going to target the systems that are used by the most people. This makes it inevitable that, as smartphone use increases, they’ll be working hard to create malware to attack these devices.
We’ve all been lulled into a false sense of security with our smartphones. For example, many people believe that Androids are immune to viruses because they use the Linux system. This leads people to believe that it’s enough to simply use the default settings. However, Android has already had its first major virus, and the virus had no problem getting past the Linux security features.
This is definitely the most compelling reason There have already been attacks. Computer security companies like Norton and Kaspersky started developing their anti-virus software long before the first attacks, in anticipation of them. Now that it’s become a reality, it’s essential for all smartphone users to make sure they’re covered.
Let’s look at the three major mobile systems and see how they’ve fared so far in fighting off viruses.
iPhone has its own built-in security system that’s pretty effective. It limits what other computers, applications and networks you interact with. Although there have been many attacks, they’ve usually been against iPhones that had their security settings unlocked (also called jailbroken), which means that if you use the default settings and let it do its thing, you have little to worry about. However, in the dreaded summer of 2010, iPhone got its first serious virus. Hackers developed a code that could get around its security settings, which means that even ones that weren’t jailbroken were open to attack.
Blackberry phones can do nearly everything your computer can do. People use applications, store sensitive data and surf the web with them. Because they function like little computers, Blackberry smartphones are used by lots of businesses. Unfortunately, like personal computers, they can get spam, malware and viruses too. A number of malware programs have already attacked Blackberry smartphones, using scams like automatic dialers that call sex chat lines and rack up phone bills.
Androids were thought of as invincible. Users were convinced that no virus could penetrate their Linux security systems. However, this presumption was blown away in the summer of 2010 when the first Android-specific virus swept through. It attacked media applications and called pay phone numbers. This surprised users everywhere and sent them scrambling for anti-virus protection.
As you can see, there is a definite need for protection. Long before the first attacks, Internet security companies began introducing their software packages. Here’s a review of some of the best in the business.
The best known Phone Security software
Norton Smartphone Security
Norton is one of the most well-known anti-virus protection software companies. They make this package for smartphones and, like the version for the PC, it does a great job of warding off evil malware. It also has a spam protection program to get rid of annoying messages and pop-ups.
Kaspersky Mobile Security
Kaspersky is another popular brand known for its high quality system. This is one of the oldest smartphone anti-virus systems. It fights viruses and all sorts of malware, including Trojans, worms, adware and pop-ups. It also offers spam blocking and anti-theft features. Kaspersky uses a removable SIM card to back up your data in case your smartphone disappears.
McAfee Mobile Security for Enterprise
McAfee also makes its own smartphone anti-virus software. It’s known as one of the easiest to use, and comes with anti-spam as well as anti-malware protection. In addition to your mobile device, McAfee’s software also protects any system that your smartphone is connected to. While the other programs listed here are made for both Windows and Symbian operating systems, a Symbian version of McAfee Mobile Security hasn’t been released yet.
F-Secure Mobile Security for Business
With more people using smartphones for their businesses, F-Secure made this program to focus on business applications specifically. It protects data stored on the device and keeps away malware. This program is an all-in-one business package with anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-theft settings.
ESET Mobile Antivirus
ESET’s anti-virus software does a little of everything, including fighting viruses, spyware, spam, Trojans, worms and adware. They’re known for their PC software for Windows, and this product has many of the same advantages. Another bonus is that it’s very easy to use.
BullGuard Mobile Antivirus
BullGuard is another system that’s designed to be user-friendly. Once it’s downloaded and installed, it should run without any kind of user interaction. Like many of the programs listed here, it has its own firewall to protect your smartphone from questionable sites. It also protects integrated memory and memory cards.
Trend Micro Mobile Security
There are lots of programs to choose from. The key is to find one that you like and that offers the features you need. You can usually download free trial versions of these programs to give them a test drive and see how you like them.