Did you know over two billion mobile phone and tablets are used every month?
Did you ever wonder if your android is safe enough? With news about uncovered vulnerability and malware rolling in daily, we all somehow end up thinking about the safety of the most used devices that are now a major part of our lives.
Do you also feel your heart pumping fast when you hear the scary stories of virus attacks that put billions of devices on threat? Maybe the picture isn’t scary enough as narrated. Some true facts can help you understand the security levels of your android devices.
Android Malware Can’t Install Itself On Your Mobile
Wondering what ‘malware’ is? It sneakily enters in your phone and still and harms your Android device. Malware term is composed of malicious software and includes any piece of software that is designed with the intention of doing harm to data, devices or people. It includes computer viruses mainly worms, trojan horses and spyware, and can serve for various spiteful purposes mainly aimed to steal, format or crack personal information and data. They completely amend or steal basic functionality of users device and monitor their browsing and internet activity without their consent.
The vulnerable looking apps on different websites might contain malicious malware. Like Google play store apps, this malware containing apps also seek permission for access which users allow and then the Android system gets affected. The Android users are therefore advised to only install apps from Google play store as they are protected.
Why Malware Will Not Be Able to Access Sensitive Data
Android has a special software management strategy that helps isolate applications from critical system resources by providing an extra layer of security so your system is not negatively affected.
Wondering why would somebody infect ‘your’ mobile with malware without any apparent reason? Simply because they are driven by the profit they may get by intercepting your credit card numbers, online banking passwords, and other sensitive data.
According to reports by the Federal Reserve Board, the majority of people are preferring mobile banking with their smartphones. Not necessarily will they use your credit card, instead they may sell it cheaply to black markets who may take the risk. The statistics for the profit may leave you in shock! A report by Symantec states a single underground group made $ 4.3 million in purchase using stolen credit cards in two years.
Multi-Layer Android Security Model
With a robust security model, Android incorporates industry-leading security features to ensure a safe platform. To understand Android’s Security Model in depth, this article by Android can be helpful i.e. https://source.android.com/security
Precisely sandboxing, platform’s permission system, encryption system and verified boot system are part of the security model. Moreover, each year, via OS updates Android makes its system more secure, that tells, updates are important to make your mobile protected! And if your Android is not updated, it would have a higher possibility to get attacked.
Furthermore, Google Play Protect plays an important role in making sure your Androids are safe, by scanning Play Store for any malware.
Android Malware is More Theoretical Than Practical
Let the stats calm you down! The probability of downloading a “potentially harmful app” from Play Store is about 0.02%.
If it’s that safe then why are we afraid?
Because there’s a serious business behind it! Let’s get deeper, and check who narrates this horror story of malware in Android? The answer is the companies that sell security software for Android. The more the fear, the higher will be the sale, the higher will be the profit.
Basic Security Practices to Stay Safe
Always download applications from reputable sources. Doing a research about developers is also good. Carefully read the permissions the application is asking for.
But sometimes, unwanted interruptions may become the culprits. Uninvited pop-ups on your Android phone are a common trick that is successfully played by malicious app developers to sneak into your phone. This method is called ‘droppers’, it’s an infection that’s hard to detect, even during testing of apps in the Google Play Store. But Google Play does it’s best to pull the app and uninstall from your device. But, sadly studies have found many pulled-away apps have reappeared with new names.
Beware, any Android device not certified by Google may have pre-installed malware. Apple’s iOS follows relatively strict rules, that may kill the functionality of droppers and is safer to use.
What Steps Can Help Protect your Mobile?
Probably you’re thinking of installing an antivirus can be a secure step, but no! Android phones and tablets do not need antivirus if you are installing apps from Google Play. If you’re downloading from other means, Android antivirus apps are ‘must’ keep your mobile phone safe. Android Antivirus can also benefit users by remotely locking or wiping lost or stolen phone!
Be vigilant for your activity on mobile, do not click on attachments in emails from people you don’t recognize or any suspicious links sent via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger.
What can you do if you are receiving such suspicious messages? Change your passwords immediately and contact those people to warn them to not text you! Surprisingly, only a third of Android users use the most recent version of Android; that’s when most have the chance to miss out on latest security patches that are introduced time to time to fix bugs and vulnerabilities.
If you have an old phone or using an outdated version; there are some tools that may help you maintain your privacy. Like, you can install an Android Privacy App. If your mobile or tablet is acting oddly and you’re doubting it to be a malware that is causing a disturbance, factory reset your device to get it back to normal.
In short, to make sure using the Android device is a safe venture for you, you need to make sure you are using ‘the latest model with the most recent software updates.’