Thursday, 31 July 2014

Protect your Android device from malware

Mobile malware is on the rise as well as your device could be at risk . These tips could possibly help you stay safe and also keep your personal information out of the hands of cybercriminals . 

The adoption rate of mobile phones continues to soar , with Android leading the way . The open-source operating-system that is led by Google is now found on over fifty percent of all smartphones . In fact , research firm Strategy Analytics discovered that 81 .3 percent , or 204 .4 million , of smartphones delivered in the third quarter of 2013 were powered by Android . 

This substantial user base has caught the attention of cybercriminals , who may have begun to double down on their efforts to illegally acquire personal information from Android owners . Although most mobile malware is found in countries like Russia and China , users from Europe and the United States aren't thoroughly immune . 

The analyst continued to say that "people look at phones more like mobile phones , rather than intelligent computers ," adding that many people don't understand that these types of devices are susceptible to virus similar to the strands found on PCs . 

The most typical malware regardless of system is related to short message fraud and individual life invasion . Botezatu noted that "one of most important the things that can happen with Android is privacy invasion ." Mobile malware may allow cybercriminals to intercept messages , monitor calls , steal information , and even listen in with the device's microphone . 

Perhaps even a lot more troubling is that cybercriminals are now identifying more complex ways to attack mobile devices , the majority of which are not protected . Botezatu pointed me to an disturbing statistic from research firm IDC , which revealed that merely 5 percent of smartphones and tablets have some sort of antivirus program installed . 

While antivirus applications can help secure your gadget , there are other measures that can be taken to better safeguard yourself from encountering mobile malware . 

Legitimate app stores 

Whenever downloading apps it's imperative that you only do so from a legitimate app store ; that means from companies like Google , Amazon , Samsung , or another major manufacturer or carrier . 

These marketplaces are checked and scanned for potentially dangerous or fraudulent programs . Occasionally , however , malicious apps sometimes slip by means of the cracks , often disguised as legitimate ones . 

A bogus BBM app in recent times appeared in the Google Play store and also managed to secure more than 100 ,000 downloads before being eliminated . The app itself was nothing more than a spamming program . 

Suspicious apps 

The bogus BBM app is a great instance . While anybody who actually read the reviews wouldn't have downloaded it , a large number of users did . One of the best defenses against worms is to notice such things as suspicious apps with unreasonable promises , bad reviews , and sketchy app permissions . 

Pirated apps 

I'm not right here to lecture you on the ethics of pirating programs ( it's against the law ) , but I am here to warn you about the dangerous that can come from it . As Botezatu said , taking a legitimate Android application package ( APK ) file and binding it with a malicious program is a relatively simple process . 

Most pirated or cracked applications usually contain some form of malware . You could spend a couple of bucks on that game you have an urge for , which in the long run will give you hours of entertainment and reward the developer for their hard work , or perhaps you can pirate it and put your personal information at risk . The decision shouldn't be difficult . 

For those of you interested in sideloading applications , make sure to only do so with apps downloaded from a trusted developer's Website . 


Google includes several settings in the Android operating system that will prevent malicious attacks . Devices functioning Android 2 .2 or higher , which basically means nearly all Android devices , have accessibility to Google's malware scanner . Prior to the installation of an application you downloaded outside of the Play store , The google will scan the app and notify you of any potential threats . 

This feature is turned on by default and can be accessed in the Google Settings app in your device's app drawer . On the other hand , devices running Android 4 .2 or higher can access the characteristic by going to Settings , clicking on Security , and scrolling down to Verify apps . 

Software updates 

Even though this may not be an option for most users , if there is an upgrade for your device make sure you download and read and install it . Manufacturers , carriers , and Google are continuously pushing out updates with bug fixes , enhancer supplements , and new features that can make your gadget more secure . 

To check for an upgrade on stock Android go to Settings , click on the "About phone" or "About tablet" option , and also select System Updates . 

Antivirus apps 

The The search engines Play store is also home to hundreds of antivirus applications that can offer an extra layer of protection . Finding the right one , nevertheless , can sometimes be difficult . A simple "antivirus" lookup in the store yields more than 250 results . So what one should you choose ? 

Companies like Avast , AVG , BitDefender , Kaspersky , Sophos , Symantec ( Norton ) , and TrendMicro possess long and established histories as some of the most trustworthy brands in the industry . 

Beginners Lookout and TrustGo have also created a name for themselves as some of the leading mobile security providers . Earlier this year , AV-Test , an independent IT safety institute that ranks antivirus apps based on security and usability , rated TrustGo and Watch out as the top two antivirus programs on the Android platform . 

Each one security provider I mentioned above have scored higher than average for protection against malware , with many detecting malicious apps more than 99 percent of times . Any of these programs would be a safe and smart option for your own smartphone or tablet . 

Many of these companies also provide additional features for a small month-to-month fee . These include such things as anti-theft protection , safer Internet browsing , device tracking , remote wiping , and more . It should be mentioned , however , that Google's Android Device Manager provides similar functionality for locating a missing or stolen device . The tool can be found online or through a free app on the Play store . 

Regarding antivirus programs , whether you choose the basic or premium features , Botezatu noted that , at least concerning BitDefender , the basic malware security is the same . 


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