When you open the box on a new tablet, cell phone, netbook or laptop it is tempting simply to hit the start button and go. Unfortunately, doing that may be a big mistake, not because you need to read the instructional manual or pick out a waterproof case, but because there is a possibility that lurking on that shiny new mobile device is malware. Loaded onto new devices from a variety of sources, malware is a real problem that must be addressed before any device is used either for personal use or for business.
Sources Of Malware
Beware of those free games and generic mapping devices, particularly if they do not come from an official app source. Your mobile device may be loaded with a lot of factory installed apps, some of which could contain malware. Consider asking your vendor to remove these apps prior to your purchase as you are able to download anything you actually need and will use from a legitimate source.
Emails And Texts From Unknown Sources
Be cautious with these, just as you would with a regular computer. Delete and always be sure not to click on links when you receive messages like this from unknown sources.
Use Common Sense On Social Networks And When Surfing
The same security concerns that guide you when using the internet, including things like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, should be used with your mobile devices. Be sure that any apps you download to make shopping or social media easier are legitimately from the proper sites.
Even though the price may seem very right do not make the mistake of purchasing aftermarket devices from auction sites, Craig’s List or similar sources. It is very possible that hackers may have obtained the devices and placed malware on them. Not only do you have very little or no information on these vendors you may not have the protection of any manufacturer warranties.
Best Practices To Protect The Company’s Devices
Have A Chat With The Seller
Whether your business is leasing or purchasing these devices, insist that the company you are paying to provide the cell phone or other item removes preinstalled software before you or your employees receive them. If you are buying used or refurbished products the dealer’s refusal to clear the device should be a deal breaker.
Run A Virus And Security Scan Before Using
Even if you are confident you have avoided a potential problem, take the time to install and run a reputable antivirus and spyware program before allowing anyone to use a new device. Use a thoroughly vetted program that you would feel comfortable using on a desktop.
Have A Chat With Your Employees
When you are providing mobile devices to your staff it is essential to set boundaries on their use of these electronics. Communicate protocols to your employees, clearly setting out rules on what types of tasks and apps can be run on the devices. Be very cautious with regard to their remote use of your servers, including cloud servers, especially when using these types of devices.