We’ve Finally Got an Answer and It’s No: Do I Need Anti-Virus on My Smartphone?

By ASG

We’ve Finally Got an Answer and It’s No: Do I Need Anti-Virus on My Smartphone?
Chances are, you’re reading this blog entry on a smart device and, even more likely than that is,you haven’t downloaded or installed any anti-virus software on that device.  And that’s okay! It’s true that your smartphone is a popular target for fraudsters and identity thieves; however, Android, for example, is by its very nature more secure than a desktop computer, so you may not need a security app, or anti-virus software after all.

Not only does the Google Play Store have an automated screening process for all its products, but it’s very difficult to accidentally download malware masquerading as an anti-virus software app from a source outside of the Play Store — thanks notifications which require you to manually bypass several built-in security steps.

The key thing to remember about malware on Android is that you have to actually install it. Mobile platforms are not at risk of the traditional virus issues that plague desktop computers.  However, malware writers will use increasingly clever techniques to try and trick you into a seemingly safe installation. The trick is to be smart and discerning when it comes to software downloads outside of a certified store.  In fact, don’t download anything outside of a certified store. That’s your safest bet.

If you’re aware of the external app’s reputability, the first time you try to download it, a pop up will ask you to allow Google to scan for malicious activity. This is known as Verify Apps, part of Google Play Services on virtually all official Android phones.S o what else can you do, besides limit yourself to trustworthy sources?

Leave Android’s Default Security Settings Be. If you want to download a foreign app from outside the Google Play Store, all you need to do is check that box within your settings. Leaving this disabled keeps you safe from virtually all Android malware, because there is nearly none in the Play Store.

Read The Permissions For Every App You Install. Is the app unnecessarily requesting access to your location or contacts or camera? If the access requests don’t’ match the function of the app – think twice before installing it.

Don’t Run Your Phone as a Rooted Android. There are malware softwares which require root access to function – so you may as well not even open yourself up to the possibility.

You’ll be safe if you use your common sense. At worst, an anti-virus aoftware app running continual will slow down the performance of your phone. At best, a security app is redundant.  However, if you are using your device for business purpose, which we assume you are, it’s a great idea to allow for remote wipe capabilities – in the event of a theft or accidental loss. And if you’re connecting to a public Wi-Fi network, you’ll want to use a VPN solution to give you an added layer of protection.

Anything else? Just be sure to install manufacturer updates as soon as they become available. Beyond that – it’s up to you to be safe, cautious, and use your common sense. If you need a little extra guidance– check out one of our most popular blog posts, 5 Tips to Secure Your Business Data on a Dime.