Virus and malware protection is just as important for mobile devices as it is for home computers, perhaps more so as smartphones and tablets are used more and more to make purchases and transmit personal information, Hardy Telecommunications’ Youth Advisory Board recently learned.
Derek Barr, Hardy’s director of customer service and sales, marketing and human resources, polled the board to find out how many of them had virus and malware protection installed on their mobile devices. Most of the students had no such protection, even though the majority said virus protection was installed on computers in their homes.
“It’s something that deserves more attention, especially since more and more people are moving away from personal computers,” Derek said. “Many people now use smartphones or tablets exclusively and store personal data in the cloud. If you access that data – whether it’s photos, videos or other personal information – with a smartphone, you need to install protection on that device.”
Hackers and thieves already have picked up on the trend in how people use their mobile devices, and they increasingly are targeting smartphones and tablets for attacks.
“You can’t rely on websites or cloud businesses exclusively to protect your data,” Derek said. “If you’re not protecting your information, a hacker can easily grab your passwords and personal information from your phone.”
Derek recommended programs like Lookout Mobile Security and Malwarebytes for mobile device security.
Lookout has a free app that will monitor your device and check any programs you install for virus and malware, and the Malwarebytes app will scan your device for free.
Lookout Mobile Security sent out a list of the top security breaches in 2014. Included in the list were the Heartbleed bug – a vulnerability in the popular OpenSSL technology used by most websites to keep Internet connections secure; eBay announcing that 145 million email addresses and passwords were compromised; almost 500 private photos of celebrities being released online due to a breach in their cloud accounts; Home Depot confirming a breach that put as many as 56 million credit cards at risk; J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. having about 76 million households were affected by a cybersecurity attack on the bank last summer; and Sony Pictures being hacked, allegedly by North Korea, resulting in the release of personal information, emails and unreleased movies.
“We hear about these cyber attacks, but we often just read about them and move on,” Derek said. “It’s a simple step to install virus and malware protection on your device, and that might save you from identity theft or the leak of your personal information later on.”
This year’s Youth Advisory Board members are Ally Dyer, East Hardy junior; Emily Shockey, Moorefield junior; Austin Miller, East Hardy sophomore; Katlyn Tompkins, Moorefield sophomore; Holly Williams, East Hardy freshman; and Austin Frederick, Moorefield freshman. The board was created in 2007 to allow area youth to share their thoughts with Hardy about technology important to them. Each member serves a one-year term.