Can my phone get a virus? Should I use an antivirus on my Android device?

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Hello to everyone reading this, and welcome to another “brain dump” of Tony! :) Today we are going to talk about viruses, malware, and Android devices — how they play together, and my thoughts on antivirus/anti-malware software. This is something quite a few people are curious about: “Can I get a virus on my phone? How would I know if I did have a virus or malware? How would I get rid of said infection? How do I protect myself going forward?”

I have wondered all this myself, honestly, and not until recently had I done research on it. Once I did the research, it really all made sense to me, so I am going to relay my findings, in my own words, and put it into perspective. Like anything else, technology is ever-advancing. With that, so are viruses and malware. When something new comes out, there is always someone breaking apart its code and creating infections that makes everyone’s lives that much harder. That will never change! Since I am a heavy Android user, that’s what I am going to talk about.

When it comes to viruses and malware on phones, is it possible? Yes, it is very possible and is becoming more and more common. When you think of a virus, you think of it in the sense of what you’d experience on a computer. While they have some things in common, they do differ a little bit in behavior. If you happen to get malware on your phone, it would more than likely be in the form of applications that look and act like legitimate apps — they might even look like ones you use on a daily basis. These are the targets, because if people think they’re on their normal apps, then they are more comfortable putting in their personal information. That’s really the sole purpose of malware: stealing information. Also, like Internet browsers on PCs, malware on your phone can come in the form of those pesky popups. And also page redirects. One moment you are browsing your favorite news website, and the next thing you know you are taken to a website trying to sell you something (or worse, an “adult” page).

How would I get this on my phone? That’s a good question. In most instances the Google Play store is the biggest culprit, as that is the easiest way to target most Android users. Google Play is not as regulated as one would think. The process of getting your self-made app into the market is not that extensive. If you have ever just browsed the app store, you can see there are a ton of apps and different versions of the same thing. When you are downloading free apps or purchasing apps, make sure they are from a company that you know, or from the company itself. For example, if you were going to download the Facebook app, make sure it is published by Facebook and not some 3rd party vendor. Beware, some of these apps to which you give permission to use your phone-resources can, in the end, cost you a fortune. They have the ability to do things such as sending out texts without you even knowing. They can send texts to certain numbers that cost more and can rack up a huge bill.

Now that that is out of the way, lets talk about prevention. Of course, the best prevention is always being cautious of what you are downloading and opening. This, ultimately, is best but can also be difficult (because when applications look and act like real apps it’s hard to tell the difference). Next, some people utilize and antivirus/anti-malware software. When it comes to using software like that, my suggestion would be to use a paid version and not a free version. Just as with programs on a PC, the free versions are limited and are lacking in the things that are most important. Also, when using such a program on your phone, be aware of the performance issues that you may face, as well. They tend to run frequently, which slows down your processing power, eats up your battery, and the notifications can become annoying.

In all of this, there are many options to help protect yourself, but the biggest tool you have is knowledge. And a company, such as Everon, to help educate you. If you have any questions about security on your devices, or have a question about an app before you download it, please feel free to reach out to us (888-244-1748 or [email protected]). We are always more than happy to help!

 

Happy Holidays Bring Unwanted Scams!

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Hello again. As the year comes to an end, and with the holidays in the works, there is an ever-growing risk of scams and stolen credit card information. I am going to talk about some of the common types of these things and ways to protect yourself.

One of the most common scams that I have seen is an advertisement of a “good deal” on a product that is a “must have” for the holidays. They are usually holiday coupons for phones or tablets at low costUsually these deals come via email, and the price seems almost too good to be true. Well, if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. 

Next, it always seems that around the holidays that credit card theft is at a high. The utilization of credit cards in order to purchase high dollar gift cards, spent at local stores for cash back, online purchase, etc. Keep an eye on your bank accounts and beware where you do you online shopping.

There have also been a lot of scams going on that seem to come from USPS, FedEx, IRS, UPS, etc. I recently got a call from a toll number that left a voicemail stating the IRS was suing me and to call back to rectify my account. It was not an 800 number and I obviously don’t have any legal actions pending from the IRS. As for the postal service and the other couriers, if you get a call, text, or email stating that you received a package and your personal information is needed in order to receive it, disregard and do not respond, let alone provide any information. The IRS, USPS, and other organizations would never contact you by phone asking you for your information. 

Amazon, hotels, and retail chains have also been “spoofed” as well. Consumers have been getting emails stating that there was a transaction processed in error and “click here” to process your refund. This can lead to stolen information and infection of your computer. If you get an email stating you are due a refund, check your account and make sure you actually were charged for what they are stating and DO NOT respond. 

Bottom line: think twice and be cautious. If the deal sounds too good to be true, then it is! If you really think about it, if these things were actually real, you would not be contacted in the way that these scams do.

Have a happy holiday and be safe, both physically and financially!

How to Text Through Your Email

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email to cell phoneHave you ever wondered how to send an email to someone’s phone? It might not have ever occurred to you to do this, but it can be done. The benefits of sending emails to a phone is that you can basically text to a phone through your mail client on your machine. It’s very convenient!

In order to send a message to a phone, you need to know two things:

  1. The phone number, complete with area code.
  2. The person’s phone carrier (i.e. AT&T, Verizon, etc.)

Once you have those, you are ready to send a text through your mail client!

Here are the major carriers’ email formats to be used:

You simply take the user’s complete cell phone and add the carrier’s domain after the @ symbol. One example: if a user has AT&T, the email address would be: [email protected] (of course I can’t put a real phone number here, but you get the point).

This one little tip of IT wizardry will help you stay connected everywhere. If you would like to discuss with our Everon engineers, feel free to call 1-888-244-1748.

 

Dude, Where’s My Phone? Finding and wiping your Android device through a web interface

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[email protected]#$%! I lost my phone AGAIN!”

Does this sound as familiar to any of you as it does to me? Well, unfortunately, this is far too common for me. In recent days, however, I have been turned on to a handy online tool to help find my Android phone when it gets misplaced.

If you are like me as well, you probably have work-related items on your phone. Or personal items that, if by chance your phone found it’s way into the wrong hands, could be devastating. This Google feature provides you the ability locate your phone, wipe it clean if needed, and set a new unlock code so it is not easily accessed.

This will work only if you have an Android device and know the Google address you set your phone up with. To start, open up a web browser and go out to www.google.com/android/devicemanager. It will prompt you to log in with your Google email address (being the same one you set your phone up with). As soon as it logs in, it will start contacting your phone.

Contacting

If your location services are on, it will provide you a GPS location of the whereabouts of your devices. If not, you have other options. You have the ability to “ring” the device. Whether your phone is set on vibrate or silent, it will loudly ring your phone for 5 minutes or until you hit the power button. Also, you have the ability to set a new lock code so no one but yourself can access it while it is not in your possession. And finally, you have the ability to wipe the phone back to factory settings, in case you are worried about sensitive data being compromised.

As I previously stated, this will work for Android devices, to include tablets, only and not any others such as windows phones or iPhones. There are other features on the market out there for the devices it does not cover, so if you are interested in hearing about those, please reach out to Everon at 888-244-1748 and we will be glad to discuss them with you!

The Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Moving to a VoIP Solution

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Hello again! Being an engineer and being subjected to a lot of technology that is out there, it’s easy for us to see and understand the big picture. Recently, however, it has come to my attention that there are certain items that we (engineers) see as normal day-to-day things, that some people just do not have a full understanding of. One of these is Voice-over-Internet Protocol, or VoIP. So today I am going to give a run down of some Pros and Cons and a little background of what it is.

Pros

1) Consolidation of Services. VoIP uses your internal IP network (network connection) to pass and receive voice traffic instead of your copper PSTN (public switched telephone network) lines like so many people are used to. So instead of having a separate line that comes in specifically for your phones and internet, they both will share the same line to accomplish the tasks, allowing consolidation of services. This gets me into the pros of going with a VOIP solution.

2) Easier (and cheaper) bill-paying. Going with a VoIP solution not only lets you consolidate in the manner of less equipment and less wires, it also allows you to pay one company for both your voice and data services. This will leave less of a paper trail, carbon footprint, and one less check to write for the accounting team. While on the topic of cost effectiveness, making a phone call with a VoIP solution is cheaper — so cheap that it is the same cost to make a call as it is to send an email!

3) Voice mail. Sure, you have voice mail with your old phone system. And it is just as easy, if not easier, to set up and manage with VoIP as it is with your old phone line. But VoIP takes it a step further, allowing you to also setup voice mail to create emails. That way you can read your voice mails (and have the printed notes right in front of you), rather than trying to listen to them in a noisy place, or having to find a pen to jot down a recited phone number.

4) The ability to set up and use call forwarding. Another handy feature you’re already familiar with, call forwarding is standard with VoIP, whereas it was an extra charge with the older phone systems/providers. 

5) Calls are easily recorded and monitored. This is great for those conference calls that not everyone can make, but they still need the info. It’s also a good way to check up on your employees and give them additional training, if needed, or have proof to back them up in the case of customer disputes.

mobile VoIP phone6) Mobility. You can move your phone anywhere, including doing a complete reconfiguration of where everyone sits in your office, or you could even take your office phone home, or to Canada, and you would still have the ability to keep the same phone number and functionality with your base VoIP phone unit.

7) Connectivity. Many companies use their VoIP solution to hold and accommodate voice/video conferencing which is a more cost effective way to bring people from all over the world together.  Sounding pretty good, eh?

Cons

Just like everything else in this world, not all that glitters is gold. With positives, there will always be negatives, hence “pros and cons.” Even though the list of cons is much shorter, I still feel it is my duty to make you aware of them so you can make an educated decision when talking about phone systems.

8) Hackers and viruses. Like anything that uses the internet for functionality, there is always a threat of being hacked and/or malicious attacks such as viruses. Yes, even phone systems can obtain viruses and can be hacked, with the hackers intercepting phone calls and tracking outbound/inbound calls. It is unfortunate that we have to worry about even our phones being hacked, and there are protective measures you can take to prevent this from happening. But that’s another-day conversation.

9) Reliability of usage. Another thing to take into consideration is the reliability. There are 2 parts to this so stick with me here. The first part is the reliability of usage. Since VoIP uses the same line as your internet, if the power goes out, a piece of networking equipment fails, or the ISP has an outage, you will not be able to use your phones just as you cannot surf the web at this time.

10) Reliability of quality. Secondly, if you do not take the time or spend the extra bit of money to ensure that your network is up-to-date and in a good spot, the quality of service on the phones can diminish. If your internet runs slow on a normal basis, your phone quality will be poorer than that of a healthy and fast network. There can be “choppiness,” delays, drops, and even static.  Something to take into consideration if you have been prolonging the network overhaul that is needed.

With all these thoughts, I hope that you feel at least comfortable enough to start a conversation with a VoIP provider in order to get more information about them. Here at Everon we are not a VoIP provider, per se, but we can answer questions and can help facilitate a transition to the service. Feel free to reach out to us by phone, website, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Cheers!