Mobile devices

Updating your operating system (OS)

Your mobile phone operating system (OS) manages all functionality on your device. Some examples of popular OS platforms are BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Android, Palm OS, Symbian and iPhone OS. Your OS is specific to your device and essentially built in.

You should check for safe firmware updates for your mobile phone on a regular basis. It contains many powerful security features to protect against increasingly smarter hackers, viruses and malware.

Follow these tips for mobile phone OS security updates:

  • Check your mobile provider's website regularly for OS update information for your device make and model.
  • Always act on OS upgrade alerts messages from your mobile provider.
  • OS updates can include anything from a completely new version to a patch or fix to increase security, iron out bugs or add extra functionality.
  • Do not try to modify the device's control software, even if you're an advanced user. Other than breaking the terms of your contract, you could open yourself up to all manners of hacking and malware.
  • Never "jailbreak", or try to remove the limitations imposed by the manufacturer of your mobile device. No matter how good the third party software may seem, jailbreaking could disable or bypass security measures of your mobile's OS, making you easy prey for a virus, worm or trojan. It could also keep an OS from receiving or enabling future upgrades.

Apps, content, mms and sms 

Apps, MMS and SMS allow you to share media and use the Internet to deliver highly specific information and functions on your mobile device. But be aware that they could also offer opportunities for fraud, malware and predators.

When you know the online file sharing risks, you can take a few precautions:

  • Beware of apps developed by companies that provide little or no information about themselves or don't provide contact details, website or email information. Even apps that seem legitimate can often contain destructive viruses or be used to collect your personal data for gain.
  • Look into an app and the permissions it requests before installing.
  • Use your common sense to match an app's functionality to the information it wishes to access from your mobile. Only download apps from sites or sources you trust – try to stick to the default source of apps for your mobile device or official website.
  • The same is true for downloading content and exchanging information with websites – only interact with reputable sites you know and trust. Don't use text messages to send personal or sensitive information.
  • Never open MMS attachments from unknown or untrusted sources.
  • Never click the links or call phone numbers that are embedded in these suspicious messages, even if they're from your bank or cell provider.
  • Increasingly, MMS and SMS text messages are being used to phish, spread viruses, and link to malicious websites.
  • Mobile viruses and malware won't just compromise your information, OS, email and Internet connection. They can also destroy contact info, calendar entries and send infected MMS and SMS messages to your contact list.