This story ran in my Crime and Courts column on Examiner.com on October 13. The reality is that even apps in Google Play store have included a virus. US News & World Reportincluded a story on this months ago.
Threats from malicious software, or malware, are commonplace for personal computers. However, similar threats have been in the news for Android phones for months and smartphone users should be aware that cybercriminals are finding new ways to install malicious software on devices. The latest threat to Android phone users, according to the FBI, is a “work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email.”
The FBI added that the latest versions of the malware are Finfisher and Loozfon. The notification said, “A link within these advertisements leads to a website that is designed to push Loozfon on the user’s device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user’s address book and the infected device’s phone number.”
The Finfisher application is actually spyware that allows a device to be operated remotely. The installation of Finfisher is typically disguised as a system update.
Last week, security experts at McAfee announced that more than 60% of Android malware uses fake premium SMS messages. In their post on this subject, McAfee said, “Malware authors appear to make lots of money with this type of fraud, so they are determined to continue improving their infrastructure, code, and techniques to try to avoid antivirus software. It’s an ongoing struggle, but we are constantly working to keep up with their advances.”
Internet security expert Kathleen McMahon operates a blog to educate users about scams at ktmobooks.com. McMahon believes that these types of scams are most dangerous to one particular group. “Particularly teenagers are susceptible to believing that smartphones are safe and the messages they receive on their smartphone are legitimate. Nothing could be further from the truth. Adults need to have that conversation with their children to make sure they understand that scammers send dangerous messages to smartphones as well as email and other social media websites.”
In their security alert, the FBI offered suggestions about how to keep a mobile device safe. Those suggestions included:
- Check the reviews for applications before installing them
- Do not connect to unknown wireless networks because these networks can be used to capture your information before it is sent to a legitimate server.
- Do not install software from unknown sources