Hackers could be outsmarting your "smart" electronic devices - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Hackers could be outsmarting your "smart" electronic devices

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Computer tech Michael Lancaster (left) Computer tech Michael Lancaster (left)

We use our cell phones, laptops, other electronic devices everyday, but they could be under attack with your private information at risk. New technology has us checking directions, banking, we're even shopping with our cell phones. Those passwords, credit card numbers and usernames could get stolen. McAffee security experts report a 600% increase in mobile malware threats in the last year. This has the tech community concerned.

Rockford computer techs say these viruses mostly come from what you put onto your device. Downloading "apps" from unsecured vendors comes with a lot of risk. It might be free, but you aren't guaranteed it's secure. For Apple products, you access these unauthorized vendors by jail breaking your phone or tablet. For Android, it's called rooting.

"Jail breaking allows for the software to have more access to the device so when you do that, most of the time it's to be able to download free applications from places you shouldn't be." -says Bisconti Computers Senior Assistant Administrator Michael Lancaster.

Once you get a malware virus through any service provider, a few things could go wrong.

"Usually you'll notice your device running extremely slow. It'll do things it's not normally doing. You'll go to make a call and it'll automatically disconnect the call, it won't process through. You'll go on the web to Google, and it'll redirect to some other foreign site." -says Lancaster.

Without jail breaking, Blackberry, Apple and Windows products are secure. Android is actually the most unsafe.

"Android is quite susceptible to viruses. It is an open-software. Google owns the rights so their site is safe to download from but maybe not from anybody else's." -Lancaster says.

Lancaster recommends installing an antivirus program onto your mobile devices. You can also be proactive in protecting your electronics.

"As long as people are careful, they don't click on links that they don't know where they go, they don't download applications that they're not for sure are from an authorized vendor."

Rockford's Bisconti Computers employees say once you've got a virus, techs usually have to erase all your data. That reload costs around $6, not including the cost to install an antivirus program. Lancaster says hackers from foreign countries, most likely China, are behind these malware threats.

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