The introduction of the smartphone into the technology platform revolutionized the use of the cellphone. Suddenly, activities and actions that required a stationary device, or a device connected to wireless internet became activities on-the-go. Now, the smartphone’s capabilities have surpassed those ever associated with a small mobile device. Cellphones went from being solely used for telephone calls, to nearly replacing the use of computers.
Nowadays, smartphones are used to place and receive phones calls, text messages, email, online banking known as mobile banking, document generation and sharing, social networking, bill paying, gaming, etc. Almost any activity can be supported by the small mobile device. These activities are made possible by the introduction of applications, known as apps. Just like programs have to be downloaded to a computer, apps have to be downloaded to a smartphone to carry out the desired commands.
When it comes to the smartphone, safety comes second to that of the computer. However, it doesn’t mean users cannot take security measures to ensure they are being protected. One of the greatest threats to users is applications. As a result of security holes, certain app developers create apps designed to steal user data, and gain access to information they would otherwise not have access to. For example, Malware is a common threat. In its essence, Malware is malicious software intended for malicious purposes. It has the ability to damage and disable computer systems. Since a smartphone is in many ways like a computer, it is a target.
When users download an app, and the app is malicious, it can download Trojans, viruses, worms, etc. to the device. These may install keylogger software, spyware, bonnets, and so on. The intent of the software is to follow user activities to obtain personal information. This information can then be used by criminals for financial gain – committing financial fraud, and in some cases identity theft.
The best rule of thumb is to verify the legitimacy of the applications being downloaded to a smartphone. As it is, apps require access to a significant amount of data, so ruling out applications can be a great step to take. In addition, reading the apps’ reviews can be helpful. Usually other users will define in their posts the problems they have had with the application. Users need to be weary of what they download, therefore, if the user doesn’t feel comfortable with the information the app is requesting access to, the best thing to do is to not download the app.
Truth of the matter is no one can protect a smartphone better than its user. It all boils down to the apps the user is downloading, and the activities or commands being carried. Although the responsibility of protecting a device is the users’, there are security software apps that scan for malware and spyware. These can be a helping hand.