Protect your smartphone and tablet from viruses and malware

What can you do to keep your tablet and smartphone safe from the same kind of malware that attacks Windows PCs on a daily basis?

It’s easy to forget that the smartphone in your pocket is a fully-fledged computer. And, like all computers, it’s at risk from malware - software designed with the express purpose of doing something unpleasant to your device and probably your personal data. That means if you use a smartphone or tablet, you need to be aware of certain security issues.

[Read more: Free virus protection - 10 ways BT's free software keeps you safe online]

Steer clear of scams

Many malware threats on Windows come from infected web sites, scams spread by email and social engineering tricks - and the same applies to mobile devices. The risk is reduced a little for mobile users, since criminals aren’t yet targeting smartphones and tablets specifically in these ways - although this will change.

Even so, if you use your mobile device for email or web browsing, you can still fall prey to these kinds of attacks and put your personal data at risk by inadvertently clicking a rogue link.

The best countermeasure here is common sense so as with any computer always be on the lookout for fake emails and suspicious-looking web sites on your smartphone or tablet.

You can, however, also use a ‘secure’ browser that will try to block visitors to own malware and phishing sites. F-Secure has an app for iOS and Android that does just that, and it’s free to use.

F-Secure

Mitigate against malware 

Android is an ‘open’ operating system which means it can be vulerable to malware and viruses. One way is via apps. The Google Play Store isn’t the only source of Android software — apps can be installed for anywhere. It goes without saying that downloading and installing an app from just any web site isn’t the best idea, so only install from reputable places like the Google Play Store.

Make sure you download the latest software updates to your phone and tablet, these often include security updates which can help keep it safe. Check out the video below for more advice on staying secure online.

[Read more: Malicious apps - what are they and how to protect your phone and tablet]

Take preventative measures

The most effective way to protect your mobile devices against malware is to install some anti-malware software.

BT Broadband customers can install the BT Virus Protect app for free on their Android device, it protects against viruses, blocks unwanted calls, warns you if the wi-fi network you are using isn't secure and can even locate a lost phones.

It works on phones and tablets and you can install it on as many devices as you want.

Download BT Virus Protect

[Protect your smartphone from malware and fraud - 7 reasons you need BT's free security app]