Android phones face growing malware threat

android logoAnytime I warn people about an email phishing scam containing a dangerous link, I envision a laptop or desktop computer, but guess what? We’re all walking around with little computers in our pockets and they are not immune to viruses and other malware.

I just came across a few articles talking about the growing thread of malware on Android phones. There are now a million malware theats out there that can impact your Android phone.

For example, there are emails going around designed to distribute “scareware”–software that tricks you into paying for other nonexistent threats. It can also intercept phone calls and messages. You get the scareware by following dangerous links that take you to infected websites.

You can also get Android malware by installing certain apps. Google purged some apps from its system after finding out they contained malware.

I just decided it was time to install some antivirus software on my phone. There are a number of free ones on the Google Play store that have good reviews, and some you can pay for. I chose the free version of Bitdefender. We’ll see how that goes.

This article contains some good advice to help keep your Android device safe.

In a nutshell:

  • Avoid suspicious websites–and especially don’t download anything from those sites.
  • Avoid third party app stores. Stick with the Google Play store as a source of new apps.
  • Pay attention to the app you intend to download, even from the Google Play store. Does it have good reviews? Does it only ask for necessary permissions? For example, a game shouldn’t need permission to send text messages.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of Android. Upgrades always include new protections. A recent update includes warnings if malware attempts to send a text message giving “permission” to some crooks for some premium service you didn’t order that will cost you money.
  • Install antivirus software.

– This post is by Stephanie Jacksis, @ WatchYourBuck


1 Comment

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One response to “Android phones face growing malware threat

  1. Mark Burrows

    Ah, thus is the reason I now have what is called a smartphone, with a stupid battery. Yes, I did upgrade and latched on to the generation of new technology. Guess what. It is a pain in more nether regions than I care to go into.
    As the author of the article clearly states, Smartphones are extremely risky things to have around and like some people they think it is just ducky they can backdoor their Smartphone to their home computer. Uh oh, that means you can backdoor any nasty virus or other intrusions to your home computer.
    Also bare in mind that any descent app is never free. You must understand that when you get anything for free, there is always something attached such as trials to other programs, or some basic utility that would prompt you to investigate to see what the parent company has to offer. Often this is not a virus, or malicious software otherwise malware, it is an advertising ploy called adware. It will create redirects in your browser as a priority if you search of a source to a problem, it will create pop ups but most people by now set their computers and devices against pop ups I would only hope. Last but not least it will bombard you with advertising emails that even if you send to your junk file and block the sender, they mysteriously keep coming back.
    When you pay for something, you are buying the right to security of that software. It is not a piece of shareware and will have more features and stability.
    Yes, there are lots of free and trial software and apps that works quite nicely, but I promise you there is always a catch.
    So my point being, the more apps you put on your smartphone, super phone, iPhone, or Blackberry, to maintain protection means there are more things running in the background which causes a high drain on the battery. This causes people to drop their phones in the charger on a daily basis. Those chargers, although by reading the specs appear not to draw a lot of power, well, they do. While your phone charges your electric meter is spinning faster. When the meter man comes by, their equipment measures peak usages and factors that into your billing. Well, I guess you can figure it out from there.
    Now I have a Smartphone, where I have stripped away all of the apps that I have purchased, that I will never get back. I stripped away as much of the operating system I could get away with, so basically I have an over glorified cellphone with no internet, very few original apps supplied by the phone itself, and I get lots of time on my battery. When my contract is up. I will downgrade to a simple cellphone. Instead I will get a tablet which is much closer to a computer for my portable internet needs and I can protect with the same software that I use for my computer.
    You may think there is folly in having two devices when all can be accomplished with one. Well, then reread my comments. Being practical and sensible are not the same thing. Each have their own positive values and often can be combined, but there are situations where one must make a choice.
    It is practical to have everything in compact in one device. It is sensible not to have all your eggs in one basket as the saying goes.

    Mark Burrows

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