Android mobile devices are different from desktops and laptops, so you don't have to worry about installing viruses or any other type of malware on them, correct?
Not so. In fact, according to a recent report, the amount of mobile malware rose 58% from 2011 to 2012.*

And while Apple's iOS had the most documented vulnerabilities, Android led the way in the amount of malware written for mobile operating systems. Its openness and large global market share likely plays a strong role in attracting virus writers.

To combat this rise in viruses, Google has protection in place to find and stop them on the Google Play store, where you can buy apps for your Android device. But, this measure alone doesn't guarantee your safety. Fraudulent apps can still slip through.
Cybercriminals want your private information. They see it as easy money, even if it means crossing legal lines. Avoid falling victim to them by following these helpful tips.

Android Safety: Ensuring Your Data Stays Secure
While Google's system helps, there are several important steps you should take to keep your mobile device safe:

Install apps only from trusted sources
Google's security only extends to those apps installed on the Google Play store. Unlike the walled system Apple has in place, it's relatively easy for anyone to install Android apps from different sources. This might include someone's blog or an email you just received. Beware, though.

Maybe the app's harmless; maybe it isn't. How would you know for sure? It could be loaded with malware - there to steal your private data, monitor your calls, or more. Play it safe and only stick to known sources for your app needs.

Stick to trusted sites as well
Apps aren't the only way cybercriminals can funnel malware onto your Android device. Websites are also a possible avenue. It's very easy to detect which operating system you're using and use that information to load relevant malware onto your smartphone or tablet - unless you're fully protected.

Just like with app sources, avoiding the darker corners of the Internet and sticking to well-known, trusted sites can help prevent viruses from burrowing their way onto your mobile device.

Secure your device with malware protection
Even if you're extremely careful about which apps you load and which sites you visit, malware can still find its way onto your device through phishing.

This might arrive in the form of an email that appears to be from your bank or credit card company, but it isn't. The right security can protect you from these attempts to steal your ID, but having no protection in place leaves you wide open to attack.

Be smart. Be prudent. Protect yourself and your mobile device. Follow these tips and remember that mobile devices are susceptible to viruses and that mobile malware is growing more prevalent.

Norton™ Mobile Security can protect your Android device from viruses, block fraudulent websites from installing malware and even help you locate your smartphone or tablet if you should lose or misplace it. Learn more about how it can help you.

* Internet Security Threat Report 2013