In the last 6 moths, the number of smartphone owners has drastically increased. Unfortunately, this growth has not passed unobserved by the cyber-criminals, which spotted the chance to make easy money.
As you may know, the most common mobile operating systems are Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, iOS (Apple) and Symbian. I will not engage in endless debates regarding which is the best, since in the end the best OS is the one which you are used to. I have chosen Android for its open source and the multitude of free apps available out there, and the possibility to create my own apps. However, the freedom and flexibility comes with a downside: Android is the most "vulnerable" and therefore the most targeted OS from all.
The first major specific Android virus was discovered in August 2010 in Russia. The virus was very simple and committed toll fraud via SMS messages to premium Russian short codes. Even if it didn't work outside Russia, it was was immediately adapted for different countries, as the issue was discussed on many Android forums and the code was posted in plain sight. You can read more about it here .
Tips for a Malware-Free Smartphone
Here are five quick tips to help you keep your Android smartphone free of bugs.
Do some background research about the app' publisher. If that app is the only one, you should probably skip it.
Read online reviews. Android Market reviews may not always be truthful, as they may belong to the publisher. Run a quick search about the application and the publisher before you hit the download button.
Always check app permissions. Whenever you download or update an app, you get a list of permissions for it. A RPG game app, for example, shouldn't need to look through your contacts. If an app is asking for more than it needs, skip it.
Avoid directly installing Android Package (APKs) files ("sideloading"). In general it is highly recommended not to download and install .APK files that you randomly come across. Most of the time you won't know what the file contains until you install it - and by then it's too late.
Prevent rather than cure. Get an Antivirus software on your phone. Although many people still think that antivirus apps on phones are useless, the number of surfacing malware targeting all OSs has drastically increased.
Although I am perfectly aware that there are a lot of free Antivirus applications out there, I recommend you to have a look at BullGuard Mobile Security 10 and its features, as it provides much more that malware protection.