Malware : Security Threat for Android based Smartphones – How to protect

By admin
Aug 26th, 2011
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malwares for android
Security is not a luxury which we can opt in or out: it’s the basic necessity in our life. Now it’s high time for getting our mobile phones secure especially the android based phones. According to the latest report from security consultants McAfee, android threats have increased to 76 percent during the second quarter of the year; making it the most attacked mobile operating system. Android OS-based malware overtook the Symbian OS as the most popular target for mobile malware developers. The rapid rise in Android malware indicates that the platform could become an increasing target for cybercriminals. But before we move ahead, some question for the people- Do you know what malware is? Are you aware how vulnerable your phone is to these malware? How much damage these malware can cause you? How they can get to your phones? Have you ever paid attention to mobile security? Don’t worry today I will takes all these questions one by one.

What is malware?
In simple words, malware is software with malicious purpose. It may be designed to steal valuable information from your mobile, to remotely control your device, disable your mobile. So now you what they are let us know how dangerous they can be:
1. They can steal your bank login/passwords details.
2. Phone data can be deleted.
3. Phone information can be captured.
4. Your phone can be forced to message to some premium numbers.
5. They can be used by botnet (a collection of compromised computers connected to the Internet, termed bots, that are used for malicious purposes) users to launch attack on digital targets.
6. In the worst scenario your phone can be bricked and need to be replaced.

How vulnerable your phone is to these malware?
All mobile operating systems are vulnerable to malware attacks aimed at accessing personal data. But android based Smartphone are becoming the most vulnerable to malware attacks because of the open-sourced nature and popularity of the operating system, giving hackers both a foothold and a large number of targets. So be aware of these malwares. We will discuss a little later how to take care of your phones against these malwares.

How they can get to your phones?

Phishing: Unknowing you may visit a fake version of a real site ending up giving your login credentials or other personal information to them.

Exploiting: Some malware may exploit mobile platform vulnerabilities to access your device.

Spyware: It’s a kind of software that can secretly installed on the user’s device and can then access your personal information such as Internet surfing habits and sites that have been visited and more than this can also interfere with user control of the computer in other ways, such as installing additional software and redirecting Web browser activity.

App Stores: Copies of legit apps infected with malicious code placed in app store can be highly risky and there are high chances of these apps damaging your phone.

Third Party online Application repository: Unofficial websites which allow downloading free apps can be a great security threat as there is no control on what applications are made available.

Worm: Simply speaking these are some special programs that replicates it spreading throughout the network so your phone could easily be engulfed by these worms.

Trojan: It’s another kind of program which may appeal to you at first sight but can be as destructive as virus or worms. They can appear to perform desired work on your device but can be dangerous to the extent of someone remotely accessing your device.

Wi-Fi Snooping: When you are trying to access a public network (unsecure network) at any hotspot there are fare chances that an attacker can see your online activities and access your personal information.

Direct attacks: These can happen from sending virus infected files or SMS to your device or even viruses can send request Bluetooth connection to spread themselves.

How can you protect your phone against these malwares?
I know after reading all this you are pretty much worried and you may not be able to decide what I should do and what should be avoided. Dont get panicked by all this. Here are simple Do’s n Don’ts that can make your life easy on this front.

DO’s:

  1. Make sure your OS and software are up to date at all times.
  2. Install security app on your device.
  3. Use strong complex passwords.
  4. Use personal firewall.
  5. Download apps from reputable and official sites and closely review app permission request.
  6. Do check the reviews from internet before installing apps from app store.
  7. Turn off Bluetooth /Wi-Fi and other connections when not in use.

DON’Ts:

  1. Download app from third-party app repositories.
  2. Leave your “Wi-Fi ad-hoc mode” on
  3. Leave your mobile devices unattended in public places.
  4. Access banking or related sites over a public Wi-Fi connection.
  5. Jailbreak/Unlocking your phone.

So by following these simple DO’s n DONT’s you can make your mobile devices safe and secure and your life hassle free. Here is a list of some of the best security applications available in the market which you may find useful:

akanksha gupta

About Akanksha :

Akanksha Gupta is a Software Developer by Profession, Technical Writer by Passion and a Poet by Nature. Her domain of technical specialization is Java. You can read her poems at Zindagi Meri Zubani .

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