Protecting Your Cell Phone Against Viruses

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Knoxville (WVLT) - One in every 10 phones is now a smart phone, one that handles data and messaging. That means it's easy for hackers to attack your cell phone.

Volunteer TV's Lauren Davis has been following this story and has more on what can we do to protect ourselves.

We spoke with IT engineers, and they say the best thing to do is make sure your PC has a anti-virus software before you transfer files. Also, be careful where you download ringtones and other programs.

Imagine, your cell phone wiped clean after downloading a virus infested ringtone. Or even worse, being watched, monitored and threatened because of spyware on your cell phone. It happened to a Seattle family and it could happen to you.

"People can steal information off your phone, especially if you have smart phone with a large database," IT engineer Stephen Bradley said.

You can get a virus on your cell phone by internet downloads, multi-media messaging service attachments and Bluetooth transfers. They'll often show up as game download updates to your phone system ringtones or alerts. So the best thing to do is make sure your computer has anti-virus software, and don't download from rogue sites, but how do you tell if you have a virus.

"It's really hard to know if you have a virus on your cell phone other than knowing hey my phone doesn't usually do this," Bradley said.

Like if your smart phone is rebooting frequently, locking up or slower response time.

"Older folks if they have an old school phone they won't have a problem, but if they have a super duper phone that's where the problem could occur," IT engineer Steve Dendrinos said.

And if you're not careful, it's a problem that could turn your handy phone into a useless piece of plastic.

If a problem does occur on your smart phone, the cell phone provider will be the one who has to fix the virus. We spoke to all the cell phone providers in Knoxville, and they say they haven't seen any virus infections recently, although several Symbian phones experienced infections in 2004 and 2005.