Do you need an Antivirus Program for your Smartphone?

Smartphone Malware

More often than not, as smartphone usage increases at a rapid pace, more people will be asking whether or not an anti-virus program is actually needed for their smartphone. At the moment, the answer doesn’t really seem to be yes or no, but more of a maybe. In all likelihood, right now it all depends on what type of smartphone you have, what you plan to do with it, and what you have currently done with it.

iOS Users

Apple users will be much happier to hear that iPhones are reportedly doing much better within the security and malware department. In fact, according to ‘McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2011,’ no threats have been reported to iPhones that have not been jailbroken. Many experts believe that this reason is simply because Apple is extremely picky in terms of what apps they allow within their app store. Even if a malicious app has been let through, normally very soon after it has been reported, it will be removed.

Android Users

For example, back in November of 2011, PC Advisor reported that Android Malware had increased 472% since July of that year. So for this reason alone, if you do own an Android smartphone at the moment, it may be best to install some security. The interesting thing to note is that 55% of malware threats that have been identified come directly from user installed apps. These apps are the types that work directly in the background of your phone and access stored personal information.

If you’re the type that uses their smartphone to access credit card information or do personal banking, this statistic might worry you significantly. According to PC Advisor again, it seems that 44% of malware found was described as SMS Trojan horses, which would secretly send text messages to premium numbers. These would include things like ringtone and horoscope subscription services.

Windows Users

Unfortunately, it seems that Windows Phones are also very vulnerable to dangerous apps within their marketplace. This also doesn’t just seem to be what one study is reporting as Todd Biggs, director of product management for the Windows Phone Market place, has talked openly about what Microsoft is planning to do in the future to deal with malware attacks. Biggs stated that Microsoft would plan on simply removing the app from its marketplace and hopefully wouldn’t have to resort to manually removing it from everyone’s handsets if the outbreak became too much to handle.

Keep in mind that although these numbers seem to show that Android and Microsoft phones are the most unsecure, this doesn’t tell anything about what the future holds in terms of security. The smartphone market as it stands today is relatively young and in its very early stages. No matter whether you believe that you have a secure smartphone or not, you should install an anti-virus program regardless to keep yourself protected. You never know what may happen with your phone. One rogue app and your phone could be turned into a very expensive paper weight.

Jennifer Carrigan writes for 522 Digital who can be reached using your smartphone to discuss security measures for your business apps.

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