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Free Cell Phone Downloads - Staying Safe with Free Cell Phone Downloads - The Risk, How to Choose the Right Sites

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Cell phone viruses are relatively new inventions on the software scene. This is mostly because only recently have cell phones become so open to new software and user-installed applications. But it is still something to be careful of. Safeguarding yourself from cell phone viruses is very similar to protecting against computer viruses, and it becomes especially important when downloading free applications from the internet. (Unscrupulous free download sites are always a hotbed for virus-laden software.) Follow this guide to protecting yourself while still finding the apps, ringtones, and games that you want.

The Risk

When you download a virus-carrying program from a free cell phone downloads site, you install it without blinking an eye because you think it’s actually something else. This is why these sites are so popular for people who want to distribute viruses. And as the viruses become more and more complex, the potential for harm to your phone goes up. Here’s what could happen:

Phone Function Disabling
Some viruses can disable certain apps, games, or even entire phone menus, rendering you unable to do anything but make and receive calls.

Financial Risk
Some viruses spread by messaging themselves to every contact in your address book. If you have to pay per text message on your plan or have thousands of contacts, this can add up to a lot of money on your phone bill. It’s really adding insult to injury – you’re paying big bucks to send a virus to all of your family and friends!

Total Phone Shutdown
Some viruses are complex enough to shut down your phone entirely, making it freeze on the opening screen during power-up or get stuck in an endless loop. This is obviously a worst-case scenario, because you may have to buy a new phone outright if your phone company can’t repair it.

Nothing
Some viruses are largely non-harmful, existing only to spread themselves to other phones via Bluetooth connections, and nothing more. If you have to get a virus, you better hope it’s one of these!

How to Choose the Right Sites

First things first, to protect yourself from virus-carrying programs on free cell phone download sites, you have to choose the sites you use very carefully. Choose well-constructed, reputable sites that don’t raise any red flags in your mind. If they took the time to put together a nice, aesthetically pleasing site and they have a ton of users, that’s a good sign that they are well-established and will do whatever they can to protect users from viruses.

It’s also a good sign if they use a user rating system and have lots of comment activity. If a program has an obvious virus in it that trashes someone’s phone, chances are they won’t keep quiet about it! Reading comments and ratings can not only give you an idea of the download’s quality, it can also protect you from potential harm.

If a site is more of a community site where anyone can upload applications and they don’t have good ratings or comment systems in place, it’s probably best to avoid it unless you really know what you’re doing. Worse yet, if all they have is a list of fishy-looking download links with simple text descriptions and nothing more, beware!

How to Protect Yourself Further

To take the next step in phone protection, look into phone security programs like one from SMobile Systems that will catch malicious programs before they can be installed, or at least remove them if they do make it onto your system. You can also look up common virus names in McAfee’s Virus Info page so you know what to watch out for. Your phone or carrier might even have pre-installed security that you don’t know about – call your phone company or ask a local rep to find out if you’re already protected.

That’s it for this quick and easy guide to safely using free cell phone downloads sites. Take these simple steps to protect yourself from big potential headaches in the future. Happy surfing!

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