Mobile phones have evolved over the years. In the past, they only supported calling. The introduction of text and media messages soon followed, eventually paving the way for full-blown internet connectivity. With the rise of smartphones, however, has come mobile malware.

What Is Mobile Malware?

Mobile malware is a malicious program or app that specifically targets mobile devices. They don’t infect desktop or laptop computers. Rather, mobile malware lives up to its namesake by infecting mobile devices, such as smartphones, tablets and PDAs.

Common types of mobile malware include the following:

  • Trojans
  • Crypto-mining
  • Droppers
  • Worms
  • Viruses
  • Keyloggers

The Dangers of Mobile Malware

Mobile malware can jeopardize the security of your personal information. If you’re like most people, you probably have a lot of personal information stored on your smartphone. Smartphones often contain names, addresses and phone numbers. Furthermore, your smartphone might be linked to various accounts that contain additional personal information. If it’s infected with mobile malware, a hacker may steal this personal information from your smartphone or mobile device.

Even if your personal information isn’t compromised, mobile malware can affect the performance of your smartphone or mobile device. There’s crypto-mining mobile malware, for instance, that steals computing resources. If your smartphone is infected with it, you can expect slower speeds and poorer overall performance. With crypto-mining mobile malware, a hacker will use your smartphone to mine digital currencies.

How to Defend Against Mobile Malware

You can defend against mobile malware by taking a more cautious approach to choosing and downloading apps. According to a McAfee report, nearly half of all mobile malware infections involve a hidden app. These apps burrow themselves into mobile devices where they go unnoticed by victims. To protect against malicious hidden apps, only download apps from your mobile platform’s official marketplace.

Like with other malware attacks, mobile malware is more common when outdated software is used. Mobile devices don’t run the same desktop operating systems (OSs) as other computers, but they are still powered an OS. If your mobile device’s OS is outdated, it may be vulnerable to mobile malware. Therefore, you should keep it updated to the latest version to minimize your risk of being targeted with mobile malware.

You can also install an antivirus app on your mobile device to protect against mobile malware. Antivirus apps are designed to work like most other antivirus software. They’ll scan your device while searching for malware. If defected, the antivirus app will neutralize the threat.