Do Phones Need Antivirus Protection?

Humans are creatures of habits. Especially when it comes to security. Which makes it unsurprising that virus-fearing PC users ask us all the time: “Do phones need antivirus software too?”

iPhone virus
An iPhone virus has infected your smartphone? No problem! With the right mobility solution, it can’t harm the company.

Antivirus companies are eager to help, but not just out of the goodness of their hearts. So does it really make sense? Well, not really.

There are indeed iPhone and Android viruses. And of course, there are attacks on smartphones too, but it is important to remember that iOS and Android differ significantly to Microsoft Windows’ architecture.

Why Do Phones Not Need Antivirus?

For example, Microsoft Windows 10, is primarily designed for the shared use of resources. The Windows Registry plays a central role, and users still like to install programs directly, despite the app store.

However, smartphone operating systems are built according to the so-called sandbox system. This means that each app has its own individual area including memory space.

This kind of architecture means that an iPhone virus or an Android virus has a really hard time infecting the operating system.

Whats more, not only can a virus do little damage when it is in its own sandbox, it also unlikely to reach a smartphone in the first place.

Excluding sideloads and jailbreaks – apps are also almost always downloaded from trusted app stores. Whether with the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, the developers are known and are blocked if a virus is suspected.

This means it is actually best to treat antivirus software with a little skepticism. An antivirus software cannot easily identify a virus app, and even if this does happen, the antivirus software wouldn’t even prevent the virus from doing its damage in most cases.

If you want to keep your smartphone safe, it is better to simply download apps from trusted app stores. In that sense, phones do not need antivirus protection.

The Catch: Phones Can Pass Viruses On

Here is the risk: An iPhone or Android virus, which is practically harmless to the smartphone itself, can still be passed on to other, more vulnerable devices in the network.

Precautionary measures are therefore recommended for companies. Many have already invested in antivirus software for the server side. EMM solutions, like Cortado Server, take care of smartphones. They inspect every file that is to be transferred from the smartphone to the corporate network.

EMM solutions can also implement policies on work phones so that jailbreaking is not possible – closing the door to one of the most likely ways that an virus can get on the phone.

To round up, ordinary consumers need only to follow a few rules; business users should think about an EMM solution to protect the corporate network.

Cortado Server supports the ICAP protocol, which can be used to check the existing, server-side antivirus software. For more information on Cortado Server’s security concept, please refer to the Data Security with Cortado Server whitepaper.