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Mobile Security Myths

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Spring 2013 — Security News and Advice


You probably have security for your home computer, but what about for your mobile device?

You may be surprised to learn that your mobile devices can be just as vulnerable as computers when they’re not protected. In fact, there are a lot of myths when it comes to mobile security.

To separate truth from fiction, and ensure that you know how to stay safe on your mobile device, check out our list of Top Mobile Security Myths:

Myth: iPhones are safe from viruses

The reality: It’s a common misperception that Apple products “don’t get viruses”, but this isn’t true. While it is true that fewer threats have been targeted at the Apple platform so far, that doesn’t mean that as an iPhone user you are completely safe. Malicious applications, dangerous text messages and risky websites can all pose a threat to your mobile security.

To help protect the information on your iPhone, you may want to check out Apple's iCloud service, which provides several tools for syncing, backing up and securing data.

Myth: Computers represent the biggest security risk

The reality: While for many years this was true, the explosion in mobile devices has attracted the attention of cybercriminals and they have been busy developing mobile malware, in addition to threats aimed at computers. In fact, mobile malware, including malicious apps, dangerous text messages, and mobile viruses, has doubled from the second quarter of 2012 to the third quarter, according to the latest McAfee Threat Report.1

To protect yourself from these threats you should install mobile security on your devices as well as comprehensive security on your computer. For instance, McAfee Mobile Security can help protect your phone from viruses and malware, as well as protect your information in the case of theft or loss.

Myth: It’s safe to use free Wi-Fi if I’m not accessing sensitive data

The reality: You may have heard that it’s not safe to check your bank balance or login to sensitive accounts using a free Wi-Fi network since your data could be intercepted, but the truth is that even if you are not accessing sensitive information, connecting to a free Wi-Fi network could put you at risk. This is because attackers can use tools to “listen in” on your web use, and potentially collect passwords and other data that can lead to identity theft. So, just by logging in to your social networking accounts and sending personal communications, you could be revealing more than you think.

To help protect yourself, avoid visiting any sites that require login information while using free Wi-Fi networks.

Myth: Clicking on links in text messages is perfectly safe

The reality: Most of us receive text messages from people we know and trust, so it’s easy to think of them as safe. But in reality, there has been a surge in phishing text messages that try to get you to reveal personal information by pretending to be a legitimate business or organization. In fact, they have become so common they have their own name: “SMiShing” messages, or phishing via SMS.

SMiShing messages may appear to come from your bank or other service provider, asking to confirm account information, but once you provide this information the cybercriminals can log into your account as you.

Stay safe by never responding to text messages that ask for personal information.

Myth: There’s no harm in browsing on a mobile device

The reality: While many of us are used to protecting our computers from online threats, you may not know that your mobile device is also susceptible. In fact, mobile malware has been on the rise and McAfee Labs expect it to continue to grow as devices become more and more popular.

While browsing and searching using your device, you could run into viruses, phishing websites, and other types of malware.

To protect your device and information, consider using McAfee® Mobile Security which offers mobile antivirus protection, safe search, backup and restore functions, and the ability to locate your phone and wipe personal information in the case of loss. And, If you have an Android device, consider using a safe search tool such as McAfee® SiteAdvisor® software for Android, which is available with McAfee Mobile Security.

As mobile devices become more and more popular, it pays to take some time to know how to protect them. Try to keep up with the latest security threats, and make sure that you use mobile security software, and keep it up-to-date. For more information on mobile security myths, visit this great resource.

1 McAfee Threats Report: Third Quarter 2012


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