How Viruses Can Infect Smart Phones

January 23, 2017


We now live in an age dreamed of more than 50 years ago. Not only is there a computer in every home, there are often multiple devices and a computer in every pocket. Today's smart phones have millions of times more computing power than all of NASA in 1969. This means they're susceptible to attacks, but attacks that you can be prepared for.

The term "virus" has carried over from the PC world and refers to programming which replicates itself by attaching to other programs. Today, hackers use this methodology to spread malware and other malicious software, but technically none of these are real "viruses." That doesn't mean they're any less of a threat to your devices.

The best way to protect your device from these types of attacks is to only download apps from trusted sources. Apple generally gets around this problem by only allowing users to get apps from their app store, which rigorously screens all apps before making them public. While Android also has this system in place, users can program Android phones where non-app store programs can be installed. However, despite their best efforts, infected apps do occasionally make it to official app stores. So the only real way to 100% guarantee your device will stay safe is to never download any apps. But that isn't any fun at all.

Although an app may seem safe, they may contain links to unsafe elements of the web. If an app looks suspicious after download, be sure not to click on any additional links within the app and uninstall it immediately. This strategy has been deployed frequently to get malicious programs on phones so personal data, and even money, can be stolen.

Finally there's jailbreaking or rooting your device. This is possible for both Apple (jailbreaking) and Android (rooting) devices. Knowledgeable programmers often find this to be a fun challenge and enjoy the enhancements they can add once jail broken. However, this does leave your phone open to additional risks, as developer security updates will no longer be available. Also, one small code change could leave a hole in the existing security which can be easily exploited.

Whether your business is BYOD, CYOD, CLEO or COPE, it is important that proprietary and sensitive information is well protected from ne'er-do-wells. At Auditmacs, we use proven processes and methodologies for solutions to manage enterprise mobile devices. To learn more about securing your company's digital platforms, contact us today.