Jan 11, 2016 01:47 AM EST
Back in September 2015, there was an alert that malware signatures were found in IQ test apps. On December 29th, a resurgence of the outbreak was discovered by Lookout Mobile Security. The security firm immediately alerted Google, which promptly removed a total of 13 apps from the Google Play Store.
Malware is an increasingly growing problem for the Android, just as Windows was the target of viruses and worms when it took up at least 90% of the PC market share, Android is now THE target for mobile malware coding nowadays. The rationale may be simple: Target the platform that has the most number of users, and the payload may be worth the trouble of coding the malware apps.
Android was built using code from the Linux platform, just to refresh your memory. Being a Linux and Unix-derived OS, it’s supposed to be extra-secure, as long as people don’t root their Androids. Keeping the root locked is crucial to maintaining the security and integrity of the Android, as rogue apps won’t be able to get to the kernel code in its locked state. However, with the popularity of rooting, the full security of the Android has been watered down.
As an end-user, here are steps that you can take to protect yourself from malware:
-Try to keep your device in its unrooted state. This way, if you ever download anything with malware code unwittingly, the malware app’s damage could be minimized, or even arrested.
-If you’re using a flagship device, it would be better if you use an antivirus/antimalware app such as Lookout Security & Antivirus or Avast’s Mobile Security & Antivirus apps. It’s understandable that users whose devices are under 16GB in storage size, and around just 1GB in RAM would prefer to skip the antivirus apps because these tend to slow down the Android. However, for those who constantly try new apps on their devices, cutting corners in the way of eschewing malware protection apps may prove to be a rather lethal move, data and device security-wise. So if your device’s hardware allows for the use of mobile antivirus software, keep one on your Android.
-Don’t download indiscriminately. While this is easier said than done, there’s a method to the madness: Download only the popular apps from Top Developers. Also, try only those apps that have high ratings, and if you want to be extra-cautious, read up on the apps you’re going to download, to be extra sure that these weren’t discovered to have malware signatures. While being extra-cautious could feel like you’re cramping your own style, it will pay off in the end.
Download Lookout Security & Antivirus and Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus apps here:
Remember, the data that malware could steal may well lead to identity theft. Also remember that identity theft could rob you of your own SSN, good credit standing, and even your own medical history. As you create ways to ensure that your devices remain impervious to malware, you also ensure that your credit cards, the online banking systems that you use, your bank accounts, your SSN, your medical history, your credit rating, and even your very identity are safe. This is how important it is to keep your devices secure. Trust Google to be vigilant about the apps on Google Play, but be equally vigilant with your Android, as the end-user is always the gatekeeper to their own data and its security.
Read more on the recent 13-app sweep on Google Play: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/google-removes-13-android-apps-play-store-infected-brain-test-malware-1537049
Read on the previous IQ Test App malware outbreak here: http://www.droidreport.com/beware-iq-test-chinese-malware-developer-sneaks-infected-app-google-play-twice-around-1m-11282
Read about how Bible apps were infiltrated by malware code the week before Christmas: http://www.droidreport.com/proofpoint-inc-discovers-more-bible-apps-contain-malware-code-gambling-apps-11872
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