Thursday, May 3, 2012

Protect that device from viruses

You would probably have to be living under a rock not to have heard about Instragram now being available for Android devices. Also in the news a lot recently was how facebook bought Instagram for one billion dollars.

Obviously, so much press has made it something that people want even if they may not know why. A friend told me that there was a bogus version being downloaded by a lot of people, and as a result, one of the recommendations being suggested was to be sure you only download from the Google Market.

I did a little research and what this bogus version was doing—via a virus—was running up charges on the person’s device by sending text messages in the background—not immediately obvious to the owner of the device.

I do not own Instagram as I do not personally want to apply those effects to my photos, but I was pretty sure that it’s a free app. So I double checked, and it is free from the Google Market. As a result, I did not understand why anyone would download it from any other place unless they did not realize that it wasn’t the official version.

I also do not know if this is something that all Android devices include as part of the settings, but mine has a way to specify that apps can only be downloaded from the Google Market. I actually had to override that once when I downloaded an app directly from Samsung—the maker of my phone.

If you have that option in the settings on your phone, I think it’s a good idea to set that as the default so that you do not make the mistake that those other folks did.

Another thing you can do to protect yourself is to download a virus-protection program. After all, your smart phone is a computer and can be just as vulnerable as your home computer.

And I do not think that iPhone’s are impervious to viruses. Again, it’s a computer and surfing the internet can make any device vulnerable. Another item that was in the news recently was how a lot of Mac computers had become infected with a virus—something that a lot of Mac users thought wouldn’t happen.

I have a free virus-protection program on my smart phone, and as far as I know, it works. It scans my device daily, it scans whenever I download apps, and it scans when updates are downloaded to existing apps.

But, honestly, I’m also very careful to only download apps made by well-known companies or in the case that I can’t find one that falls into that category, I always use the Google Market to be on the safe side. And I always read the ratings and reviews before downloading, too.

AVG Free App
If you don’t know which virus program to pick, the one I am using is by AVG so that’s as good a place to start as any. They have a very good reputation for protecting home computers and the app has a 4.5/5 rating.

The app also provides anti-theft and phone location. I have not had to use it, but this is what it says it provides:
  • Ability to locate your lost or stolen mobile phone and get help with finding it via Google Maps™
  • Ability to turn your phone GPS on remotely and have the device send its location using GPS
  • Lock your phone remotely via our ‘Remote Management’ or by sending SMS to your phone to guard your private data.
  • Set a lock screen message to help the locator find you.
  • Make your device ring even if your phone is on silent mode.
The anti-virus app was the first thing I downloaded, and at that time I was only concerned with the virus protection. As you know, if you’ve been reading my posts, I always strive for free as my first choice. If you haven’t downloaded a virus app, immediately go visit the Google Market or the iTunes store and get protected.

Questions: Do you have a virus-protection program that you recommend? Does your virus-protection program have additional features that you recommend?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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