Thursday, 19 December 2013


The rate of people using android device now is very alarming. The open-source operating system that
is led by Google is now found on more than
half of all smartphones. In fact, research firm
Strategy Analytics found that 81.3 percent, or
204.4 million, of smartphones shipped in the
third quarter of 2013 were powered by
Android. *wow*
This massive user base has caught the
attention of cybercriminals, who have begun
to double down on their efforts to illegally
obtain personal information from Android users. One of most important things that can happen with Android is privacy invasion.
Mobile malware can allow cybercriminals to
intercept messages, monitor calls, steal
personal information, and even listen in with
the device's microphone.
Perhaps even more troubling is that
cybercriminals are now coming up with more
complex ways to attack mobile devices, most
of which are not protected.
While antivirus apps can help secure your
device, there are other steps that can be
taken to better protect yourself from
encountering mobile malware.

Legitimate app stores

When 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 monitored and
scanned for potentially dangerous or
fraudulent programs. On occasion, however,
malicious apps sometimes slip through the
cracks, often disguised as legitimate ones.
A fake BBM app recently appeared in the
Google Play store and managed to secure
more than 100,000 downloads before being
removed. The app itself was nothing more
than a spamming service.

Suspicious apps

The fake BBM app is a great example. While
anyone who actually read the reviews
wouldn't have downloaded it, thousands of
users did. One of the best defenses against
malware is to notice things like suspicious
apps with outrageous promises, bad reviews,
and sketchy app permissions.

Pirated apps

Taking a legitimate Android application package (APK)
file and binding it with a malicious program
is a relatively simple process.
Most pirated or cracked apps usually contain
some form of malware.


Google includes numerous settings in the
Android operating system that can prevent
malicious attacks. Devices running Android
4.2 or higher have access to Google's
malware scanner. This can be enabled by
going to Settings, clicking on Security, and
checking the  "Verify apps" box.
Prior to installing an application you downloaded
outside of the Play store, Google will scan the app and warn you of any potential
Devices running Android 4.2 or higher are
also protected from premium SMS charges. A
notification will alert you if an app is
attempting to send a text message using a
premium service, at which point you can
approve or deny the transaction. This feature
is built directly into the operating system
and does not need to be enabled.

Software updates

While this may not be an option for most
users, if there is an update for your device
make sure you download and install it.
Manufacturers, carriers, and Google are
constantly pushing out updates with bug
fixes, enhancements, and new features that
can make your device more secure.
To check for an update on stock Android go
to Settings, click on the "About phone" or
"About tablet" option, and select System

Antivirus apps

The Google Play store is also home to
hundreds of antivirus apps that can offer an
extra layer of protection. Finding the right
one, however, can sometimes be difficult. A
simple "antivirus" search in the store yields
more than 250 results. So which one should
you choose?
Companies like Avast , AVG, BitDefender ,
Kaspersky, Sophos , Symantec (Norton ), and
TrendMicro have long and established
histories as some of the most trusted brands
in the industry.
Earlier this
year, AV-Test, an independent IT security
institute that ranks antivirus apps based on
protection and usability, rated TrustGo and
Lookout as the top two antivirus programs on
the Android platform.
Each security provider I mentioned above
scored higher than average for protection
against malware , with most detecting
malicious apps more than 99 percent of the
time. Any of these programs would be a safe
and smart option for your smartphone or
Many of these companies also offer
additional features for a small monthly fee.
These include things like anti-theft
protection, safer Web browsing, device
tracking, remote wiping, and more. It should
be noted, however, that Google's Android
Device Manager offers similar functionality
for locating a lost or stolen device. The tool
can be accessed online or through a free app
on the Play store.
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