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How to avoid malware on smart phones

Q: Are smart phones vulnerable to the same kinds of security problems that plague PCs, and if so, what can users do to avoid them?

A: Android phones are becoming fertile ground for viruses and other malware. So far, iPhones have not been particularly vulnerable, in some cases because the iPhone operating system is harder to crack than the Android system, which is built on open-source software. And until recently, Apple did a better job of monitoring new apps for its App Store than Google did for the Android Play Store.

Fortunately, Android users can download security apps from the Play Store that offer some protection from malware. Good free choices include Avast Free Mobile Security, and Zoner Anti-Virus Free.

A: You're going to be disappointed by this answer. First, the $15 upgrade will be available only for Windows 7 computers purchased between June 2 and the end of January 2013. If you bought your Windows PC previously than June 2, you'll have to buy the regular upgrade afterwards Windows 8 comes out later this year. The price for that hasn't been announced.

It remains to be seen whether the upgrade is worth even $15 to a current Windows 7 user. Windows 8 is a radical departure from Microsoft's traditional approach to the operating system. It resembles the new Windows system for mobile phones, however on steroids. And it's geared toward tablets and touch screen laptops, not conventional desktop PCs.

There are components of Windows 7 that remain in Windows 8, nevertheless they're not front and center. Microsoft appears to be betting the company on mobile computing and the cloud. Not a bad bet, but maybe not a good deal for Windows 7 users.

More information: Sfgate