In the recent weeks, The Google Android market has seen an uptick of malware infected applications. Among these malware infected applications, a new variant of stealthy malware was detected. These malware are designed to install itself onto a victim’s Android based smartphone or tablet, and subsequently collect user’s information such as browsing history and runtime logs. What makes this more scary is the fact that the malware has the ability to possibly steal user account information, such as email, credit card, and bank account information from unsuspecting victims. According to the security researcher, this piece of stealthy malware is embedded in applications that promised to help users cheat their way through the popular Angry Birds game, although the Angry Birds game itself is not infected. In order to protect yourself from the ever increasing app based security threat on mobile phones and tablets, please follow these tips:
1. Install an antivirus software on your mobile device. AVG, TrendMicro, McAfee, and Lookout Mobile Security all offer some antivirus products for your Android or iOS (iPhone and iPad) based Smart Phone or tablet.
2. Pay attention to apps that require an excessive amount of permissions and rights to your phone, and don’t download or install unnecessary apps.
3. Disable unneeded services on your phone, more services that are running means more “doors” for the attackers to bang on.
4. Check the running services on your phone periodically and make sure that no suspicious services are running.
5. Avoid the installation of apps from unknown or untrusted sources, and avoid brand new apps that are untested or not yet reviewed. Consider looking at the app reviews and the amount of reviews to verify the usefulness and legitimacy of the app.
6. Consider disabling the installation of apps from unknown sources for Android phones. This setting can usually be found under Settings > Applications > Unknown Sources (Note: In some cases, you may need to re-enable this setting in order to install certain legitimate applications on your phone)