When a word begins with “mal,” you know it’s bad news. Malodorous. Maleficent. And one that’s woefully underused: malversation. (Look it up; it’s a good one.)
But the most dangerous to our tech lives? Malware. These insidious little programs crawl into our phones, laptops and any other smart device and wreak utter havoc. And unfortunately, it’s everywhere.
Oh yes, everywhere
It’s mostly just random sites spreading this stuff. For example, a malware app called CherryBlos just snuck past the Google Play store’s filters. It got the green light even though it can steal cryptocurrency wallet credentials.
Before you hit that “download now” button
Usually, you can trust the Google Play Store, Apple’s App Store, Amazon apps and all the other official sources. That said, it’s just plain smart to “trust but verify.” All of these are free and most only take minutes, if not seconds:
- Keep your devices updated. Don’t put off updating because it’s too inconvenient. These “annoying” updates often contain tighter and better security measures.
- Do your research. If an app looks good, Google it before you download it. A few minutes of research could save your phone, data and even your bank account.
- Scan the reviews. Tempting as these free or cheap apps are, the proof is in the pudding. Look for any signs of devices behaving strangely after downloading.
- Never blindly grant permissions. I get it. Our 2023 attention spans are very limited. Still, the time you take to read exactly what permissions you’re granting is time well spent.
- No jailbreaking. Not only are you voiding any warranties and risking increased freezes and crashing — but you’re also agreeing to a decreased level of cybersecurity.
You know what they say, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to phish and he’ll steal your bank password.”
Bonus: Must-have protection for all your devices
Antivirus is vital in the fight against malware. Always have a trusted antivirus program updated and running on all your devices. We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at ProtectWithKim.com. That’s over 85% off the regular price!
Want even more anti-malware tools in your toolkit? Smart! Use this easy, free check to see if a site or file contains malware.