If you own a computer, you have likely also purchased and installed an antivirus software to protect it from being infected by viruses and malware. Protecting your computer with antivirus software is one of the most important things you can do to keep your personal information safe.
But do you need antivirus software for your smartphone?
Your smartphone is essentially a computer that you can carry around with you in your pocket, with all the access to the internet that your computer has. Since malware and viruses come from the internet, you may be wondering if you should protect your phone in the same way as your computer. Do you need antivirus software on your smartphone?
So let’s take a look at what kind of protection you might need for your phone.
You’ve probably heard at some point in your life that Mac computers don’t require any kind of antivirus protection. This isn’t entirely true—it’s always a good idea to use antivirus software on your computer, even if it is a Mac—but these computers are more secure than their Windows counterparts. So, is the same true for their mobile cousins?
iPhones use an operating system called iOS, which is also produced by Apple. This OS has been created “with security at its core,” according to Apple. And they’re right. It’s incredibly hard to get a virus on your iPhone.
Apple takes a walled garden approach when it comes to their App Store and they prevent a lot of infection with their in-depth scrutiny of every app available on their platform. In fact, they don’t even allow antivirus apps on their App Store.
However, like every other connected device, you can still be affected by phishing schemes and adware. As such, it’s always important to practice safe browsing habits and not give your information out to people you don’t know.
If you jailbreak your iPhone, you also willingly open yourself to dangers. Jailbreaking an iPhone removes a lot of the security precautions Apple has placed in iOS and allows you to download apps from untrustworthy sources. It’s best to keep your iPhone in its stock configuration.
Where Apple manufactures both its phone and the operating system, the Android operating system is produced by Google and works on a variety of different smartphones produced by many different companies. This can make for some interesting security concerns.
Android app stores are also historically less strict with what they allow on their store, especially when compared to Apple.
As such, Android dominates the market in antivirus software for smartphones. All of the major antivirus companies are on the Android marketplace and provide apps.
Ransomware has become more common on Android devices recently. This is where a portion of your system or your entire system is held hostage by an attacker, who then requires you to pay up before unlocking it for you. Oftentimes they don’t even unlock your phone after you pay.
This is why it’s especially important for you to download some kind of antivirus protection for your Android devices. As with any app purchase, make sure you are getting a legitimate piece of software by reading reviews and doing your research.
Windows phones aren’t nearly as popular as iPhones and Android devices, which means they’re less likely to be targeted. They also use a sandbox environment that is harder to exploit than other devices.
When Microsoft first announced that they were going to be producing a crossover Windows 10 operating system for their mobile devices, many people were worried that this would open the door for more viruses to affect their Windows phones. However, now that it has been out for a couple years, there hasn’t been any noticeable security threats due to the change.
To best protect your Windows Phone, continue to observe common sense security practices. Don’t fall for phishing schemes by freely handing out your personal information and avoid suspicious websites. If you don’t trust an email or link, it’s best not to open it.
The number of people using BlackBerry devices is significantly less than even those who use Windows Phones. As such, it’s even less of a target for hackers, mostly because it just isn’t profitable for them. Again, like with other devices, this doesn’t mean there aren’t viruses out there targeting BlackBerry devices.
You may still run into malicious apps on the BlackBerry app marketplace since it’s not as strict as the Apple App Store, so be careful what kind of apps you download, especially if it comes from a suspicious developer and doesn’t have good reviews.
Protecting Your Phone
Protecting your smartphone is as simple as being safe online. If you practice good security techniques like safe browsing and being suspicious of unknown links and email attachments, you’ll likely prevent any attacks from happening.
Overall it doesn’t hurt to have some kind of antivirus software installed if available. Remember to only download reputable apps from trusted antivirus software companies.