One of the best villains of science fiction is the Borg from Star Trek. These merciless cyborgs "assimilate" entire planets to add new knowledge and technology to their civilization.
Their emotionless and unstoppable tech-based hive mind (well, mostly unstoppable - see "Star Trek: First Contact") is chilling. Good thing we don't have something similar on Earth.
Actually, we do. It's called a botnet.
A botnet is a group of infected computers that is operating to send spam, steal bank account information, infect other computers and attack companies - the Zeus botnet is a good example. Usually the people who own the computers don't even know that their computer is infected.
Botnets are already bad enough, but they're about to get even worse.
A new virus that targets Android smartphones and tablets called NotCompatible will take over your smartphone and add it to a botnet. It pretends to be a system update to trick you into installing it.
Once NotCompatible is installed, it starts sending out spam to other gadgets around the world. Not only does this increase spam traffic, it will kill your battery life and data plan.
The best way to protect your phone is to cancel any popup that says there's an update available. This will usually happen when you're browsing online - the code comes from malicious or hacked websites. You should also avoid any text messages or emails with a link asking you to update.
To be extra sure, only check for and install Android updates from Settings>>Software Update. You can also turn off the ability to install third-party apps by going to Settings>>Security and unchecking "Unknown Sources."
Android tends to be a bit less secure than Apple, but Apple still has some dangers. In both cases, you want to make sure you secure your smartphone or tablet first thing after you get it. Click here for my essential steps.