Tech security has always been both a top-down and bottom up proposition. Not only is it necessary to neutralize attack vectors such as infected websites, but each computer needs to be individually firewalled and running good antivirus software.
When it comes to devices like phones and tablets, the focus has always been more on top-down security than individual security. Take the iPhone as an example: all iOS software has been screened through the iTunes app store, and you are only allowed to install apps which Apple has approved. That’s a great way to reduce the risk of installing infected programs. (freedom of use is another topic.) And even with over 1.4 million apps in iTunes, Apple has done a decent job of keeping devices clean. Last fall, the first known “virus” for iPhones was discovered in China, and the floodgates have opened. There are other issues with quality control in the app store as well.
Android phones strike a good balance between app choice freedom and a secure store. Google Play is a filtered, “virus-free” environment, but you can also adjust a setting deep in Android that lets you install other 3rd party apps.
Both mobile operating systems struggle with one thing: when do you block an app? Do you block adware and spyware, or just viruses? (See our article on Flashlight Apps for worries about spyware in the app store.) There are definitely cases in both iTunes and Google Play where I would advise against installing an app. On a PC, there are other functions of Internet Security programs, as well: what about malicious websites or spam/phishing email, or financial security?
That’s why we recommend you install a third party security tool on your mobile device, such as Lookout Mobile Security (Android, iOS), Avast Mobile (Android only), or Kaspersky Internet Security multi-device (Paid).
When you join the Freedom Club, we not only address the security of your computers, but also of up to 3 mobile devices per subscription.