How To Protect Your Android Phone Against Viruses
The phenomenal growth of Google Android has in part, been due to open nature of the Android Applications Market. Google provides little vetting for third party developers, looking to promote and sell app’s, meaning the number of applications available has grown very quickly. This has also made it vulnerable to hackers pushing malware and viruses. We look a few known malware types, currently targeting Android devices.
SW.SecurePhone (virus) collects data and personal information then sends it to a remote server for ‘harvesting’ by hackers. Most of these viruses only result in annoying adware and unsolicited spam emails rather than cleared out bank accounts. However, in the wrong hands it could be disastrous and serious threat to your personal ‘wealth and safety’. Like most viruses, it runs in the background without any icon being displayed, making it very difficult to remove. Windows users will be more than familiar with this annoying problem, as the operating system is highly vunerable to attacks.
Most malware runs after users unwittingly install, it after downloading external software. The exact sources have not been reported, but the Android Market may well have been compromised. Remember, only download applications from trusted sources and be sure to analyse the developer information before downloading. Often comments and reviews are bogus, so do your own research first.
Soundminer is another malware that asks permission to access the handset’s microphone, under the guise of some innocent service. It then records calls and applies a pattern analysis coder capable of ‘predicting’ the likely content of a voice call. Valuable calls with automated bank systems for example, are recorded and given a hackers ‘value rating’. This applies to the data spoken and input into the phone, via the keypad.
When the rating is high enough, the malware sends it to a distant server for analysis and possible action. It is simply a case of collating enough data and putting it together in the right context. The open nature of theAndroidphone Market and the granting of access to third party operators, has been criticised for not being secure enough. Summary Google seem to have a fairly relaxed approach to vetting developers and their products.
Just offering a disclaimer about 3rd party apps will not endear them to customers facing serious malware issues. They need to take responsibility and work at making key products like Gmail secure, as this is typically where viruses and malware strike. Apple has no known viruses and the malware is very tame in comparison to the Android or its dreaded PC cousin. Try and use complex passwords, that use numbers and letters, where possible and keep an eye out for virus announcements, it is ultimatley upto you to stay safe online.