Home > Contemplations > 7 Reasons To Use Your Cell Phone To Avoid Malware/Viruses To Which Your PC May Be Susceptible

7 Reasons To Use Your Cell Phone To Avoid Malware/Viruses To Which Your PC May Be Susceptible


Yup, it is true. Your smartphone is often a more secure and lower risk place than your PC is when you are worried about the malicious software that is out there. As well, your tablet – most of which use a mobile/smartphone OS (OS = Operating System) – is in the same boat as your smartphone for this discussion.

Got an email that looks spammy and have a smartphone? Check that email on your smartphone before opening it on your PC.

Going to do online banking? Your better off doing it on your phone – especially if it is a BlackBerry which has an extra layer of security in its very connection.

Why do I say this? Well there’s a number of reasons:

  1. With so many different OSes and variants of OSes out there they are harder to target and targeting them is less likely to yield results than targeting PCs – or Macs – as between the two of them they are the bulk of personal computers out there today. Yes, Macs are also not targeted near as much as Windows PCs are it is true but pretty much any phone OS is targeted even less than a Mac.
  2. Considering how often we connect our phones to our computers and back them up – or at least how often you should be doing it – it is very easy to get your phone back up and running than it is your PC.
  3. If you’re at work and you get an email that is suspect opening it on your phone means that if it is malicious you aren’t going to be infecting your company’s entire network. Which would you rather explain to your boss/IT? That your (company issue) phone is messed up or why you had to open an email from Uncle Jimmy which took over the entire corporate network and compromised the very private, highly sensitive databases?
  4. Even if, somehow, someone targets your phone and manages to render it completely useless you still can pop your SIM card into a non-smartphone and your calls/texts will still be coming through and usually a replacement phone is way cheaper than a replacement computer.
  5. Even if your smartphone is down for the count you still have your computer handy to do all your computing – and let’s be honest; a computer is a way more valuable commodity to have in the business world today during the hours of 9-5 vs your phone. Phones can be replaced, phone numbers can be forwarded. It is way less of a favor to ask someone to use their phone for a quick call than it is to ask someone to borrow their computer for a few hours while you finish those TPS Reports that Lumberg told you you better get done. (“Office Space” reference.)
  6. As I said above, a lot of phones have an extra layer of security from the manufacturer or service provider on their connections which is not seen on PCs – especially BlackBerry devices which run everything through a special set of Research In Motion servers which compress and encrypt the data.
  7. No matter what any ad tells you, you DON’T have the ‘full internet’ on your phone. Most pages are reformatted to run/display properly on cell phone browsers so if you do end up at a spammy site it probably won’t be able to run its malicious software

Those are my feelings on the matter and they have served me well – knock on wood. I am well aware that there are more and more pieces of malicious software coming out targeting cell phones and their operating systems as the market has changed and grown. However, although I did recently see reports of increasing numbers of Android and iOS malware being released these numbers still pale in comparison to the amount of viruses, spyware, and general malware that is out there for computers. I stand by this statement even as my friend Keri – aka @KeriBlog on Twitter – told me about attempted hacks of phones (detailed in this link thoughtfully provided by Keri in the comments below) when she was at DefCon 2011 (an event which she covered on her KeriOnSecurity blog/vlog) by an unknown source from outside DefCon (this is weird because most of the world’s top hackers were AT DefCon).

This post was not written to open a debate on the security of Macs vs PCs or BlackBerry devices vs iPhone vs Android vs Windows Phone 7 vs webOS. Except for the BlackBerry, which I don’t think anyone disagrees is more secure than any other phone/mobile OS I am lumping them all in the same category and really lumping BlackBerry devices in with every other mobile platform for all intents and purposes.

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  1. August 17, 2011 at 11:47 am

    Great advice Dan, especially #3, which happens more often than it should.

    Think before you click!

    And yup, that happened. You can read about the Defcon hacking here:

    http://seclists.org/fulldisclosure/2011/Aug/76

    • August 19, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks Keri. I really don’t know how often it happens but wouldn’t be surprised to hear that it happens fairly often. People are often extremely careless with computers & technology and/or will just shut their brains off when you try to explain to them a concept about computers/smartphones because “They’re not a computer/smartphone person.”

      Thanks for the Defcon hacking link! I am going to edit it into this post.

  1. November 1, 2011 at 7:16 am

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