Android malware is on the rise; the number of “samples” of malware has risen from 400 in June to over 15,000 in February. A piece of malware on your Android phone has the potential to track your location, access your contacts, make calls on your behalf, monitor your activity such as when your enter your banking information for mobile transactions.

Here are a few tips to help keep your phone free of malware:

  1. Read app reviews
    Having an Android device makes you part of a community. Check to see how others have rated the app and the comments they’ve made; be sure to participate by giving your feedback on apps you’ve downloaded. This makes good apps popular and bad apps easier for everyone to skip over.
  2. Google the app and the publisher of the app
    If you’re suspicious of an app, see what other apps the publisher has created. You can get an idea of what they’re about by the other apps they’ve put out. You can also get a read on what the online community has to say about an app by looking at the Google search results.
  3. Only download apps from Google Play (Android Market)
    Google Play is the official app market for android devices. While this won’t guarantee protection against malware, Google is actively screening out malicious apps; a third party market or website might not be as protected.
  4. Don’t just click OK
    During the installation process, check to see if the app is asking for more permission than is necessary. A flashlight utility app does not need access to your contact list. Be sure to read what the app is saying and doing; don’t just click OK.
  5. Beware of links you’re sent
    Just like on your computer, don’t click on suspicious links in email and websites or in applications like twitter. Some links are bad in an obvious way, others are shortened so they look like this: but will forward you on to the creator of the links website.

As time goes on, anti-malware solutions for mobile phones will be more functional and plentiful. For now, a few leaders of the pack for Android are: Avast, F-Secure, Kaspersky and McAfee. To read more about malware protection for android: