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Wednesday 29th May 2024, 2:00 PM (BST)

Protect Your Smartphone from Advert Malware

If you’ve got malware on your smartphone, it’s more likely to come from ads than any other source. Here’s how you can protect your mobile …


Users are storing more and more information on their smartphones and tablets as the number of available apps increases and superfast broadband makes it easier than ever to get online anywhere in the world. Although this brings plenty of benefits, it also means that mobile devices are becoming more obvious targets for malware and other malicious code.

A new report from security company Blue Coat shows just how important it is to keep your smartphone protected.

The study shows that malware aimed at mobile devices is still rare compared to other malware threats: in fact, it still accounts for just one per cent of the total. That’s mostly because it’s actually still quite difficult to get malware onto a mobile.


Unlike with PCs, where clicking on the wrong link and visiting a single infected website can offer a point of entry, most malware has to get onto mobiles by being downloaded. That means more user interaction and more signals that will put them off. The technological tools required to infect a phone just like a desktop are hard to get hold of.

Nevertheless, the threat is growing, and Blue Coat has found that adverts on the websites people visit from their phones are actually the biggest source of malware accounting for a fifth of all mobile malware visits.

Even if mobile is still much safer to use than the average PC – and especially those running on Windows, which has been particularly targeted thanks to its huge popularity – it’s important to take a few simple precautions to keep your device safe.


Have a look around for apps such as Lookout Mobile Security, which scan devices for malware and viruses. But most importantly, never click on ads that crop up on sites you visit, even if it’s a site you know and trust. In many cases ads are put there by third party companies who may not have done any checks beforehand, so threats can lurk in unlikely places.

If you’re not sure about downloading an app, think about whether it is available via the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. They often have good security measures in place and vitally, you’ll be able to check reviews from other users. If there is a threat lurking in that file, you stand a much better chance of learning about and avoiding it.

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