How-To: Prevent Malware on Android

The Android Market has produced thousands of good quality apps, there’s no denying that. Yet, some applications have slipped through the cracks and provided viruses and theft of data from devices. Google has cracked down on this before, yet for some reason, it continues to happen, and more and more users have their devices severely impacted.

It’s easy to prevent these “bad apps” from making their way onto your device. The first way would be to avoid downloading any application that offers you downloads, like wallpapers and ringtones. Some apps can be trusted (I personally like Zedge’s app for downloading these things). Be cautious of who the developer is for each app that you want to download, and of course, read the user reviews and ratings!! Chances are, if the reviews say it’s malware…it probably is!

On that note, looking at the application name alone should help avoid downloading malware. If you’re looking at an app called “FrEe RiNgToNeS and WaLlPaPeRz!!!11!,” it might be a little bit sketchy. My general rule–if it’s grammatically wrong, it’s probably wrong for your device.

Also use caution when downloading apps from the Internet. The only OFFICIAL hub for apps on Android is the Android Market. It was established to create a safe environment for developers to post their apps, and for users to download them. The Amazon AppStore was also designed with this in mind. Downloading apps from the Internet and pushing them to your device is permitted (except on AT&T), but not generally recommended. Sure, the Android Market has some things that slip through, but it’s generally a lot safer than downloading from a site called “getyoappshere.com.”.

My next bit of advice involves text messaging and email. With texting, make sure not to subscribe to those stupid texting programs, like for daily jokes or horoscopes–you never know when they might send you a link that you don’t want to open! With email, take extra caution not to open attachments that you wouldn’t open on your main computer. Only trust attachments from those you know and trust. Otherwise, don’t open it.

Finally, it never hurts to add a security system to your phone. There is an amazing mobile security program called Lookout Mobile Security, that will help you identify threats and eliminate them before they cause harm to your phone. It’s available for free in the Android Market, so make sure to download it and make sure your system is safe.

By following these steps, you should be able to prevent having your mobile life compromised. Hackers are starting to move away from PC viruses and focus more on mobile viruses, which dramatically increases the chances of getting a mobile virus. Follow my advice, and practice the same safety you would utilize on your PC, and you should be able to avoid ending up having your information compromised.

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