Five Ways to Ensure the Software You Download Is Safe

April 4, 2013

Tech Tips

There are many movies, apps and images that you can easily download to your smartphone. The problem is that they are often too easy to download. Many people are finding out just how dangerous malware can be because the viruses are stealing information, destroying the phones and causing a range of other problems. While there are many ways for viruses to sneak into your device, the most common method is unsafe downloading. You can still download apps and movies without fear, but you need to keep some things in mind before downloading a new file.

App Marketplaces

There are thousands of websites with movies and apps that you can download for free, but it might be better to avoid these websites if you want to be safe. Many hackers frequent these places and leave files infested with viruses. Instead of saving money by downloading a free app, you are just inviting a virus to destroy your smartphone.

Though it often costs more than downloading files from random websites, it’s usually much safer to exclusively get files from your phone’s native app marketplace. While there have been cases of bad files on these marketplaces, the files are usually removed as soon as the problem is discovered.

Scan the Files

Another great way to keep your device free of viruses is to scan files before downloading them. While there are some viruses here and there that can bypass scanners, these programs will catch at least 99 percent of the various viruses lurking on the Internet. Scanners aren’t as common for smartphones because fewer people want them, but you should be able to find a few of these in your app marketplace.

Just make sure to follow the scanner’s advice when you use it. Don’t download a file if the scanner says that it’s suspicious or full of viruses.

Antivirus Programs

There are several antivirus apps available for smartphones that will help remove and protect you from viruses. This is basically the same as having an antivirus program on your desktop or laptop computer. The app will periodically scan your smartphone for malware to ensure that your system is still clean. Many of these apps also include scanners.

Be sure to get an antivirus app with frequent updates. Hackers are always creating new viruses. The only way to be safe is to have an app with all of the current virus definitions.

Read Reviews

Never download a file without reviewing either the file or website. For example, if you are going to download an app from your app marketplace, then read the reviews to see if anybody experienced problems with viruses and malware. Some of these files might just have adware. This causes pop-ups to constantly appear, which can be annoying.

Finding and reading reviews should only take a few seconds. It’s quicker to just look for bad reviews because few people will leave a good review if they had to deal with malware.

Check Permissions

This is very important with Android phones, but everyone should pay attention. Every app requires certain permissions. For example, the app might request the ability to check your location if it’s a location-based app. Most users just download the app without checking the permissions, but this could be an egregious error that costs a lot of money.

Some apps ask for storage permission. This means that the app’s developer can check, modify and delete files on your SD card. Checking the permissions allows you to see what type of potential damage could occur if the app is full of malware. If an app is asking for permission to view something that isn’t essential to its function, then it’s best to avoid the app.

Many people don’t think of their smartphones as little computers. The fact is that they are just as vulnerable to viruses as your desktop or laptop. If you don’t practice safe downloading, then you might experience problems with hackers trying to steal your identity or costing you a fortune in phone bills. Just download a scanner and antivirus app, use your native app marketplace, read reviews and check the permissions before downloading an app. These steps should significantly reduce the likelihood of you ever having to deal with a virus.

Today’s Guest Author:
Sarah Hendricks is a security expert on protecting users and businesses from hackers and data leakage. Users in the office, at home, or working remotely are all subject to attack. Sarah has teamed up with Mobile antivirus software from to keep mobile devices protected nation wide!

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