I received a text message from my mobile provider the other day stating that as a premium customer I could download a free anti-virus for my Smartphone. Jaded as I am, working in identity theft, I was leery of a few things. First, I wasn’t sure the text had actually come from my mobile provider. The text message sender was only identified as a five digit number so I could not be sure that this was not actually a smishing scam. Second, I was concerned that even if the text was from my mobile provider, the download would not be free in the end or would expose all kinds of data when I accepted to download the application.
So, I headed to my mobile providers website to see if this offer for free mobile anti-virus was legit. After finding the application on their website and realizing that what I was being offered was a very basic anti-virus which could be updated for a fee I came to the conclusion that this was indeed a little personal victory. Not only was I getting free basic anti-virus for my Smartphone, I was being validated for my concerns about mobile security.
Many people do not realize that your Smartphone is a mini PC and therefore vulnerable to the same risks as any laptop or PC. Mobile Malware is a growing threat and while Android devices were originally the target of many malware attacks, the risk for iPhone users is growing as MacOS is increasingly threatened. The best way for Smartphone users to protect themselves is to protect their mobile devices with anti-virus, just as they would their desktop.
The generosity of my mobile provider got me to thinking if all mobile providers were doing something similar. Had they finally caught the drift that if their customers were fearful of using the internet it would affect their bottom line? Perhaps they have as all of the major mobile providers I looked at offered some sort of free anti-virus protection for their Smartphone customers. This is exciting news for us here at the ITRC. It is good to know that there is protection available to consumers, protecting them from mobile malware attacks and therefore, one technique thieves use to get personal information to commit identity theft.
If you haven’t yet downloaded anti-virus onto your Smartphone, head on over to your mobile providers website and check to see if they offer free anti-virus for your device. Make sure that you are actually downloading the app from your mobile provider’s website. Cybercriminals will surely begin to create fake anti-virus applications for mobile devices in an attempt to infect devices with malware, so be sure the application is legitimate and not an application made to look similar.