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  #1  
Old 01-23-2013, 06:13 AM
steviep24 steviep24 is offline
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Do Smartphones Need Antivirus Protection?

I know you should have antivirus for your computer. But do you need it for smartphones? I've never heard anyone talk about internet security for smartphones as of yet so I was just wondering. Also, has any of you Dopers had a smartphone get infected with a virus?

I have a new Samsung Galaxy Express.
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2013, 09:22 AM
bouv bouv is offline
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As long as you only get apps from a trusted source (i.e. the Google Play app store,) then no, you don't need any kind of anti virus. 99% (if not more) of Android viruses are from shady "blackmarket" app sites that have hacked apps you can download for free.

And while you're at it, despite what a salesman may have told you, don't download any kind of task killer app.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:47 AM
steviep24 steviep24 is offline
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That's worth knowing. I'm new when it comes to smartphones but so far I've downloaded apps only from Google Play.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:26 AM
It's Not Rocket Surgery! It's Not Rocket Surgery! is offline
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On Android (at least on Jelly Bean, which is version 4.2 or later), go to Settings, then Security, and make sure the box that says "Unknown Sources" is NOT checked (if it is, uncheck it). As long as it's not checked, you can only download apps from Google Play.
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Old 01-23-2013, 11:23 AM
cuberdon cuberdon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bouv View Post
As long as you only get apps from a trusted source (i.e. the Google Play app store,) then no, you don't need any kind of anti virus. 99% (if not more) of Android viruses are from shady "blackmarket" app sites that have hacked apps you can download for free.
The story of a recent Android botnet:

http://blog.cloudmark.com/2012/12/16...s-spam-botnet/

Where downloading free (ie, hacked) games from an untrusted source was the problem. Subsequent posts detail the cleanup.

I also enjoyed the post "SMS Sex Spammer Fails Turing Test".
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:03 PM
AuntiePam AuntiePam is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by It's Not Rocket Surgery! View Post
On Android (at least on Jelly Bean, which is version 4.2 or later), go to Settings, then Security, and make sure the box that says "Unknown Sources" is NOT checked (if it is, uncheck it). As long as it's not checked, you can only download apps from Google Play.
Thanks for this. I don't have a smartphone but my husband does.

Is there a way to stop spam on a smartphone? He gets popups while playing Angry Birds.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:33 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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The free app Lookout has a virus scanner, but it's also a phone locator if you lose your phone, letting you locate it on a Google map. It can make your phone play a siren noise if you misplace it even with the sound turned off. And it can send a locator signal automatically if the battery is about to die, so if you've lost it and you don't realize it until the battery has died, you can still find the last place it was. If you truly lose your phone for good, you can tell the app to wipe all your data from it.
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2013, 12:49 PM
oft wears hats oft wears hats is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steviep24 View Post
That's worth knowing. I'm new when it comes to smartphones but so far I've downloaded apps only from Google Play.
Another thing that helps is to pay attention to requested app permissions before installing them. A lot of apps (especially free versions of pay apps) request permissions beyond what they need to run. If you see one that concerns you, you can always contact the developer to ask what they use the permission for.

Also, the Google Play store is significantly less regulated than the Apple App Store, and malware can get in much more easily. I recommend paying attention to the reviews and number of downloads an app has before deciding to download it.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2013, 01:24 PM
Mama Zappa Mama Zappa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuntiePam View Post
Thanks for this. I don't have a smartphone but my husband does.

Is there a way to stop spam on a smartphone? He gets popups while playing Angry Birds.
Does he have the free (ad-supported) version?

Oh - and there *have* been instances of Google Play (what an awful name, by the way!) having infected apps:
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/tech...-secutiry.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...ous-bills.html
From that second link: "even Google's Play store often has fake apps".

FYI, if you want to download apps from, say, Amazon, you have to check that "third party" checkbox (or uncheck it, I forget which).

My advice? If it sounds too good to be true, it is (the stuff on third-party sites). Like so many music-sharing sites, these are rife with Bad Stuff. They entice you to download the bad software by offering something free that isn't supposed to be free.

Last edited by Mama Zappa; 01-23-2013 at 01:27 PM..
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2013, 02:58 PM
control-z control-z is offline
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I run Avast, it has a firewall and antivirus. Then any app I install that shouldn't have Internet access (like a calculator for example) I block in the firewall.
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2013, 03:24 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Yes. There's been a boom in smartphone viruses and it's worth it to be protected.
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2013, 03:48 PM
Krouget Krouget is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steviep24 View Post
I know you should have antivirus for your computer. But do you need it for smartphones? I've never heard anyone talk about internet security for smartphones as of yet so I was just wondering. Also, has any of you Dopers had a smartphone get infected with a virus?

I have a new Samsung Galaxy Express.
I currently see no point in antivirus software for smartphones, and that's after previously trying a few. I've seen articles discussing the possibility of threats, but no alarming malware presence on Google Play, and less so in the Apple store. Besides that, I'm always skeptical of a company with a solution for sale, trying to convince me of a problem. Most casual users would have to participate in some active efforts, in order to get malicious applications onto their devices.

By that, I mean checking off the ability to install 3rd party apps (it's off by default), going out to find them, and download/transfer them to a directory, before installing. If you want to get into more serious potential for damage, they'd have to have an unlocked/rooted device, which isn't something most casuals do, without some know-how. Outside of this, most users download popular or more easily accessible software, which is proven safe, especially as most of these are becoming cross-platform (meaning, they should be vetted as reliable and safe).

Of course, it's always a topic for debate, such as here.

Personally, I think you're at much greater risk when losing the physical device, itself...which ironically, is covered in most of these security applications. The lack of timely security updates from the manufacturer/carrier is also an issue, since those sometimes leave exploits open. I do see the potential for SMS scams, for example (and I've received those), but that's different.

To note, this isn't an expert opinion, but just my point of view as a power user.
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