Your mobile device could be infecting your computer |

Your Mobile Device Could Be Infecting Your Computer

Recently as I have been visited people at their desks, I have noticed a growing trend of mobile devices being charged via USB cords plugged into desktop and laptop computers. People tell me they are just using the USB to charge their phone/mobile device and not transferring files.

First, I want to acknowledge the need to keep devices charged, and doing so via the USB port on a computer is an easy way to do that. However, please continue reading….

Potential Security Issue:

In an effort to keep from transmitting any possible infections between your Smartphone, Kindle, MP3 player, or other mobile device and your computer or even the church's network, please do not plug these devices into your computer.

Even though these devices are simply “charging”, security experts recommend that we not do this as it provides an open door for transmitting viruses and malware. This is also recommended for your home computer as well.

Myth Buster: But I have a [fill in the blank] computer, so it is safe from viruses

Please note this pertains to any type of mobile device running any time of operating system (Android, iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Windows, Blackberry, etc).

As a side note: You should install antivirus on your mobile device (including Smartphone). Here are recommendations for free but good solutions: Lookout or Sophos. You only need one of these.

Antivirus security for mobile devices

Frequently Asked Questions

Q:  So, if I have one of the antivirus security apps on my mobile device, may I safely plug it into a computer to charge?

A:  No. It is not recommended.

Q:  I don't plug my mobile device into my computer, so am I vulnerable?

A:  It depends. Every device should have antivirus security software/app on it. If you get a virus on your mobile device, you could still infect your computer if you email/beam an infected file to your computer.

Q:  So how do I charge my phone while at work?

A:  Here are a couple of methods:

  1. Bring a wall charger with you. I know, it is not
  2. I like this option best because it can also help you if the electricity goes out…. Purchase an external battery for about $10. There are more expensive ones if you need longer charges, but this one from Amazon is highly rated and only $10. I have one similar to it, and it has been very helpful on many occasions. Note that you use your existing phone/device cable and plug into this battery to be charged.

Q:  My church office has a good antivirus security system on the computers to handle this stuff. So this does not apply to me, right?

A: I am sure your church office does indeed have a fantastic antivirus security system in place. However, as with any security system of any type in the world, it is best not to place a “weak spot” in that security wall by attaching a mobile device.


About the Author

Steve's passion is to help ministers and churches do ministry in our new digital, social, mobile world at the speed of life through building a strong ministry infrastructure (minfrasTructure). With a background in church administration, Christian education, missions, and technology, he offers advice, tips, and tools through writing, blogging, speaking, online courses, consulting, and personal coaching.