Long before ransomware and large-scale hacks became everyday problems, viruses were crawling into our desktops and infecting our screens. Somewhere in the world, there’s a cynical coder with an ax to grind or bills to pay who can’t wait to ruin your day.

These days, smartphones and tablets are just as vulnerable as regular computers, and malware is often used to subvert your private accounts. Your phone is a gateway to a lot of personal data, and malware is often designed to break into your email, online banking, and apps.

Getting lazy now could wreak havoc on your smartphone or tablet, plus all the networks it’s connected to. The more time the malware has, the more it will try to manipulate your apps and data as well as steal from you.

Be proactive.There are simple steps to make sure your smartphone is safe from hackers.

The most dangerous situation is when your device is infected, and you don’t even realize it. Malware doesn’t announce itself. It works as secretly as possible so that you’ll overlook the damage it’s causing.

One commonly held belief is that Apple phones and tablets never get malware. But the devices are not impervious to infections and scammers.