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3 sources of mobile malware

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by Kimberly Deas

From “listening” for information, to sending text from your phone, to gathering all your personal information, malware is more dan­gerous than ever before. Think giving your credit card number over your cellphone is safe? Think again. If your phone is infected with mal­­ware, everything is fair game to hackers. If you own an Android, you are 2.5 times more likely to encounter malware today than six months ago.

There are three main areas where you might “pick up” a smartphone virus:

1. URL links in social media. Face­­book has implemented new URL checking software, but unfortunately, not all social media providers check all the links. Research shows that almost 1 in 4 clicks on a social media link comes from a mobile user.

2. App stores. Although many of the app stores are being carefully watched, TapSnake, a Snake game clone, managed to get into Google’s Android App Market before it was pulled. Also, utility apps, like Battery Saver, recently got repackaged with the malware included and was distributed via a third party app store. Apps that sound like another popular app or paid apps of­­fered as free should raise a red flag.  

3. Third party software. If you own an iPhone, it can be tempting to install “Jailbreak” software, but before you do, check out this malware story. (Jail­­break­­ing allows the user to gain root access to the operating system.) The Ikee Worm that infected many Australians came as an “extra” with Jailbreak software they downloaded.

Using protection for your phone is more and more important. Several ­providers offer malware protection: Lookout, MacAfee and Trend Micro.


Author: Kimberly Deas combines her 10+ years’ experience in telecommunications with a background in personal coaching and results-oriented training.

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