This week's post is about Android security. It's a relevant topic considering the number of users, the fact that cyber-criminals love dense targets, and the growing number of viruses and attacks specifically aimed at the Android user. Mark our words, before 2014 is done, Android infections will reach epidemic proportions.
"Before 2014 is done, Android infections will reach epidemic proportions."
As we do more and more on our mobile devices, the juicier we become as targets for cyber-crime. The smartphone is replacing the computer as the hub for online activity. As a result, the most sensitive and potentially irreplaceable information we have, is at risk. The good news is that in this case, there are answers that are simple, effective and somewhere between free and ridiculously inexpensive.
"The good news is that in this case, there are answers that are simple, effective and somewhere between free, and ridiculously inexpensive."
First, a look at the culprit. This dramatic chart illustrates the exponential growth of viruses that are specifically targeting mobile devices.
Malware modifications of malware targeting mobile devices. Source: Kaspersky
It would be unreasonable to believe this rate of growth will not advance significantly over the next 2 to 5 years.
Next, let's look the target of these viruses.
The distribution of mobile malware detected in 2013 by platform. Source: securelist.com
Yeah the little green guy is square in the target. It's time to get serious if you own or use an Android device.
Now, to the solutions. Some are routine oriented, some are free, some are very inexpensive and worth far more than just their cost, in money terms. After all, we are talking about things like your identification, reputation, physical safety, personal information and potentially irreplaceable data.
The Routine -
Password protect your Android device. Otherwise it's like leaving the keys to your castle on your front step. Who does that!
Keep your device's software up to date. This is a lot more important that it might seem, and is crucial to your security.
Double-think before clicking a link in a text message. Or an email, for that matter.
Sync your stuff!
- Look over your shoulder. In the digital age, only the paranoid survive. Get used to it.
The Free -
Use a password manager. Odds are you aren't taking us up on this one. It's OK. We'll convince you sooner rather than later. Especially as soon as we can find one we LOVE! For now, check this out; How to Make and Remember Great Passwords.
Don't jail break your phone! All bet's are off otherwise.
Back your stuff up. Don't let a simple mistake turn in to the loss of 4,000 of your favorite pictures. Or worse.
The Ridiculously Inexpensive -
Buy and use good security software. Ok, we have an axe to grind because we sell the stuff (the best ever, but who are we to say?). But still, it's great advice, and unless our advice is great, not much else is going to go well around here. Seriously though, do the research, ask around, but get some serious software to protect you because it is out there, and it is absurdly inexpensive considering how great it is. The stakes at hand deserve it.
Use a VPN. Virtual Private Networks are like magic. They do so much to protect your online connection when you are wirelessly connected, including over public wi-fi's. We admit, they are still a bit clunky to use and the novice might struggle a bit. We would recommend one specifically if you could find one that is a no-brainer. Not yet, but if you stay with us you will be among the first to know! In the meantime, check this out; How to Stay Safe on WiFi Networks.
There is much to do in preparing for the new age of risk management. We encourage you to think about it as a journey because there is no silver-bullet solution. It's going to take one step at a time. But, protecting your Android device is a smart step in the right direction and it is something you will never regret.
Thanks for reading,
Total Digital Security