What is a malware?
A malware is a shortened name for malicious software. These are computer programs designed to cause damage to your device. Many of these are made to steal your password, and to steal your identity. Some are also called ransomware where you are required to pay to get your phone back to its working condition.
Many of these programs come in the form of apps, or through advertisements that you click. In many instances, they are also sent to you via email where you click a link that activates it.
So, how do you protect yourself from malware? To protect yourself, take note of the following things:
- Disable installation from unknown sources
- Only get apps from Google Play
- Do not root your phone or tablet
- Update your OS of prompted
Let us review each one and help you understand why these are important.
Disable installation from unknown sources
Your Android device was programmed to recognize the source of the app that you are trying to install. If the app is not known, then it is not vetted or approved.
In your phone, you can enable or disable the installation of these apps. To be safe, you must disable it. Most of these apps are pirated versions of games, or games that allow you to cheat. As such, they come from shady companies who have a hidden agenda—to hack you.
Only get apps from Google Play
The Google Play store has a large team of people who test the apps before they are approved for sale on the store.
As such, Google Play has high standards to ensure that Android users are protected. Malware creators cannot meet these standards, and they will attempt to give you free apps outside of Google Play.
What you do not know is that these programs will creep into your device and plant viruses—viruses that are meant to destroy your phone or steal your passwords.
And once they do that, it is too late. Never get tempted to download free versions of apps that are otherwise paid in the Google play store. Pay for it and be safe.
Do not root your phone or tablet
Rooting is like jailbreaking an iPhone, but only for Android. Rooting means you are disabling the security systems put in place in the Android operating system so you can tinker with it yourself.
Many malware apps require that you root your phone because they want to bypass the system. And once they succeed in doing this, nothing can stop the malware from executing actions on your device. It can record your key strokes. And once the hackers know your password, you will be locked out.
Update your OS if prompted
The Android system keeps on updating to fight new malware programs that attempt to hack your device. While you may not want to update, it is necessary. Without these updates, you will not be able to patch the vulnerabilities n your phone.
As you can see, no software is perfect. And once hackers find out that there are soft spots that they can exploit, they will do it. The Android team will eventually find out these vulnerabilities and patch them with updates to keep you safe.
Never miss an update. It only takes a few minutes to completely install the patches and then you will be safe from malware attacks.
Malware comes from criminals. They will hack your accounts, access your financial details, and before you know it, you are doomed.
Do not install suspicious apps, and never click on emails that ask you to click on links, even if these emails come from your bank account or any financial institution. To be sure, open a browser and access the financial website from there.
Always be suspicious of anything that you did not ask for, and never install apps that you cannot get on Google Play.