How to protect your smartphone from viruses

Written by stephen byron cooper Google
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How to protect your smartphone from viruses
You could lose important information if a virus gets on your smartphone. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

The number of people in the world who owned a smartphone topped one billion in October 2012, according to research firm Strategy Analytics. In July 2012, an Ofcom study found 39 percent of UK adults owned one. Although early users didn't realise smartphones were as vulnerable to malware as computers, a 155 percent surge in the number of virus attacks on the devices, measured in 2011 by Juniper Networks, demonstrated that the problem was growing. As each year passes, the rise in virus attacks on smartphones increases, making protecting your smartphone an urgent issue.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Keep your phone to yourself. Don’t let others use the Web functions on your smartphone. They may not exercise the same level of caution as you. Password protect your phone so other people can't use it when your back is turned.

  2. 2

    Be careful when opening email attachments. These can download malware onto your phone. Be particularly cautious with attachments from people you don’t know or emails that make their way into your junk folder.

  3. 3

    Avoid clicking on links embedded in emails from unknown sources. Also, check the sender email address of messages that appear to come from trusted sources. For example, hackers may try to emulate a well known brand such as PayPal by using a subdomain. A fake address such as “” will direct you to “” and has nothing to do with PayPal.

  4. 4

    Keep a tight rein on Web activity and do not visit untrustworthy sites. Most search engines will try to block access to sites that their tests have revealed harbour viruses. They will advise you against accessing those sites.

  5. 5

    Download apps onto your phone only from well-known and trusted app stores. Even some of the apps on iTunes or Google Play can be fake, so check reviews of any programs you're interested in before downloading them.

  6. 6

    Install anti-virus software on your device. You won't need to shell out for an expensive package as there are a number of free programs available. Take a look at Avast, AVG and Avira. Often reviews of software can be a good source of tips on which anti-virus software is trustworthy and effective.

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