- Category: September - October 2009
Mobile phones with built-in office and Internet functions, so-called smart phones, start to become omnipresent and consequently inspire more and more hackers and virus writers to come up with ideas, especially since these end devices, like PCs, have numerous security gaps. Believe me, the dangers are manifold: Attackers can, for instance, read personal data such as contact and call lists, steal documents stored on the mobile phone, or reprogram the device in that way that it works like a bug which monitors the entire usage behaviour of the owner, including telephone calls and sent and received text messages spark off
Fortunately, no one is defenceless if a series of simple advice are taken to heart. The following applies to users of smartphones with the Windows Mobile operating system, but can be assigned for the most part to devices with other software, too.
Don’t be frivolous
Act with the same caution while surfing the Internet mobile as when using it on your regular PC. So, do not download software indiscriminately from the Web. It is recommended that you install only programs with a digital signature. Such a signature confirms the program is a serious software from commercial vendors, which has gone through a specific certification procedure.
Don’t try to outsmart any security mechanism
The programming interface (API) of the operating system Windows Mobile allows ex factory -only certified software with a digital signature. This system works well as long as a user isn’t trying to install a signed program. The pre-adjustment namely can be avoided, for example, with the auxiliary program SDA_ApplicationUnlock of Novosec, which disables the certificate checkups on mobile devices, but which however, creates a security risk, as any other software can be embedded uncontrolled on the mobile device then as well. Therefore: hands off from such "workarounds," if you want to keep your smart phone free of malicious programs.
Use a process manager
Process management software enables you to search for suspicious processes on your mobile phone and to stop it if necessary. But due to hardware limitations, only a limited number of processes can run with Windows Mobile. Make a note of these processes if you are sure that your phone is not infected. Should at a later date, a hitherto unknown process attract your attention, it could indicate a virus and you can stop the process.
Use WLAN and Bluetooth sparingly
Disable WLAN and Bluetooth if you are outdoors. These techniques for wireless data transmission at close range can be abused easily to dispatch viruses or other pests. In addition, so-called “sniffers” can intercept in this way confidential data.
Watch out for spontaneous data connections
If you discover that your mobile phone connects without manual intervention (via GPRS, UMTS, etc.) to a mobile operator, it could be a sign that it is infected with a virus, which causes that data to be transmitted to a foreign body. If this is the case, cut off the connection immediately and remove the malicious program by using an anti-virus software.
Make regular backups
Whether your smart phone is used for business or private: One of the most important instruments on such a device is your contact list so imagine the consequences if it gets lost or stolen. Therefore it’s recommended to save the stored data on the mobile device regularly. Should the device be infected by viruses, it can then be set back to the factory defaults without significant loss of data when getting rid of the pests.
Save sensitive data outside of the cell phones
Don’t save confidential files on the built-in memory of your mobile device, but on removable memory cards. Be aware that smartphones are in general not very safe.
Install anti-virus software
Most large security providers now have versions of their anti-virus solutions for mobile devices on offer. If you haven’t done it yet, install such software. It is time that your smartphone enjoys the same protection as your desktop or laptop computer.
In both cases: software, which gets in the way of viruses or other malicious programs so that it can’t reach the system, is more effective than those that clean already infected machines, as the subsequent virus revision is not always easy. You have the most effective protection, if you combine the mobile security solution with an anti-virus program for the PC - with active real-time test.