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Android malware protection: a guide for the paranoid

Posted: , posted by Ray S.

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Android malware protection: a guide for the paranoid
Android malware software exists. It's not fiction, and it's not something made up by the companies offering protection services. Thankfully, there isn't that much of a treat right now, but it's widely believed that Android malware is gaining traction, so just as with our PCs, we may soon have to make a habit of installing some anti-virus software, right after starting our new device for the first time, or restoring it to the factory settings, though we really hope this won't be the case.

Having an open operating system is cool - this allows us to tweak it any way we want, customize it, install software that lets us do things that we can't do on other platforms, but all of this openness has its downsides as well. For example, there is no app review processes whatsoever before an app gets uploaded to the Google Play store. This means that a developer can concoct a malicious app, and then very easily make it available to the millions of Android users around the world. Another example is the fact that there are a lot of parties involved with the platform's development. Carriers, for instance, very often have control over what software updates are pushed to devices and when. As a result of this, many phones and tablets are left running dated software with built-in security flaws or weaknesses. Ultimately, what this all means is that with Android, we get a flexible OS with great possibilities, but also an OS that's highly-vulnerable to attacks. Google recently incorporated a new Google Bouncer technology into Google Play, designed to stop malicious apps from popping up in the store, but devs have already found ways of counteracting this. For example, an app may seem perfectly clean, but once it's installed onto a device, it may trigger the download of its dangerous part.

Now let's spend a few moments to discuss the possible ways that malicious software may exploit your infected handset. Of course, almost anything is possible, but among the most popular ones are sending messages to premium phone numbers, stealing personal data that might be on your phone, execution of different commands remotely like full data wipe, for example. Obviously, one can run into quite a bit of trouble, should their Android phone get infected.

As we said in the beginning, the number of apps carrying some malicious code is still quite low, but the forecasts are not good, as they are predicting a growing interest in development of Android malware, probably due to the system's ever-increasing popularity (and open nature). That's why we decided to come up with a small guide for those of you worried about the security of their mobile device.



Of course, nothing can fully guarantee that you'll never fall victim to malware software, but we believe that in case you follow these basic rules, the chances of you getting some of these nasty pieces of malicious code on your device will be minimized. Now, tell us - are you worried about the security of the data on your mobile devices?

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