Beware of Android Malware!
There was a time when the software was exclusive to computer systems only, and mobile phones were mere communication devices. But now, with the rapid technological modernization, mobile phones themselves have become full-fledged computer systems with their own operating systems and software. Software that is installed in a mobile phone is known as android applications and is specifically made to run on the phone’s operating system. These applications or apps are developed by web developers and can be installed from app stores. With an increase in the android app development market, a huge number of apps are now available for phones.
With the rise in mobile phone usage, android malware has also become widespread. Android malware is a malicious app that targets the android systems of mobile phones. It harms your phone and lets hackers and cybercriminals steal your personal information. But the question is, how does all this happen? And How can you avoid them? Of course, the idea of getting your personal information stolen is scary, and you might be having many questions in your mind. So, in this article, you will find the answers to all such perplexing questions.
What can mobile malware do, and how it works?
According to Adam Bauer, a security researcher at Lookout (a mobile security company), android malware typically works in two ways. It will either trick you into granting them permission to access sensitive information or exploit vulnerabilities in phones to get access to the information by giving itself administrator rights. You should carefully consider before granting permission to any app.
What information can a hacker access, and how can he use it? This question is both important and frightening as you don’t know how your personal information can be used, especially for suspicious and criminal activities. A hacker can get important information such as your banking credentials, contact list, device information, and phone number/email address. Your banking credentials can be used for committing identity thefts, and there are several dangerous malware apps out there for this purpose. Furthermore, the hackers can sell your contact and device information via malware, and you may receive a load of robocalls and texts along with more ads. They can send links for more malware to your contacts as well.
What are the common types of Android malware?
Android malware comes in many forms, but they have similar purposes. Let’s have a look at some popular types of android malware and see how they affect phones.
Trojans are a type of malicious apps or software that seem legitimate but actually are malware that can take control of your phone. They can be harmful as the hackers can use them to steal your sensitive data such as device and banking information or spy on your activity, and much more.
Ransomware is another dangerous malware, which has a unique way of doing things. When a phone gets infected with it, the malware encrypts important user’s data such as photos, documents and sometimes even locks your screen. The malware makers then demand payment via message in return for decrypting your phone. In case the ransom is not paid, you can lose your data forever.
As the name implies, this type of android malware spies and steals sensitive information from infected phones. It secretly records all of your activity on the phone, along with your sensitive information such as passwords and banking credentials, and sends it to a third party that can harm you. You might not even be able to notice that your device has this malware until your phone’s performance deteriorates or you check it with an anti-malware scanner.
Adwares are very annoying as the ads keep on popping up on your mobile screen even when you are not using the internet or apps with ads enabled. Most of the adware makers make money based on the number of downloads and clicks. But some adware can seize your device, forcing you to download more malware. It can also let hackers steal your information.
It is an old malware that existed even at the time of typewriters and works by recording the keystrokes. In the present time, this malware records whatever information you type into an app or a website and sends it to a third party.
How can your phone get malware?
Many procedures may look normal to you, but you might unknowingly be installing malware on your phone. There are many ways in which cybercriminals and hackers install malware on your phones.
Downloading malicious apps
Downloading malicious apps is one of the most common ways in which your phone can acquire android malware. The apps installed from an official app store are usually safe, but those installed from less authorized sources can contain malware.
Nowadays, many people access their emails via phone. Receiving and opening is a normal thing BUT, if you ever receive an unrecognizable email that tells you, for example, that you won a prize, then never click on any link provided in that mail (not even out of curiosity!). By clicking such links, you will be directed to a dummy site, and meanwhile, the malware will be downloaded and installed on your phone.
Unsecure Wi-Fi or URLs
There are plenty of unsecure websites on the web, and accessing them exposes you to the risk of getting malware. These sites may also steal your sensitive data. Using an unsecured Wi-Fi also makes you susceptible to a man-in-the-middle attack. Moreover, spyware can infect your phone via web browser vulnerabilities.
Using a vulnerable operating system
Vulnerabilities in your mobile device can make way for hackers to install malware. Your phone will be vulnerable to such attempts if it is not regularly updated.
How would you know if your phone has malware?
It is important to keep checking your phone for any possible malware. Certain signs can tell you if your phone is infected or not. So, look out for the following, and if you see any one of them, then there is a chance that your phone has malware.
- Continuous pop-up ads no matter what app you are using
- Battery draining faster than usual along with reduced performance
- The appearance of unrecognizable apps on your phone
- When a new app is installed, its icon immediately disappears
- An upsurge in data consumption
How can you protect your phone from malware?
Now that we know the effects of android malware, we must take some measures to keep our phones safe. Here are some points that can be helpful:
Only trust official app stores
One of the best ways to keep the malware away from your phone is to download legitimate apps only from trusted sources. That will minimize the risk of getting malware that often comes with malicious apps.
Avoid phishing emails
Emails can be a source of malware even if you change your phone. Remember! Never click on any link provided in a suspicious email, no matter how curious you are! Beware of phishing emails!
Use secure Wi-Fi
Make sure your Wi-Fi is protected with a password. That will keep any unwelcome third party away, keeping you safe from man-in-the-middle attacks. Secure Wi-Fi, however, can not stop you from accessing unsecure sites, so you need to watch out for such sites. Lastly, keep your browser updated to avoid any web browser vulnerabilities.
Update your android operating system
Make sure that your operating system is up-to-date so that the hackers are unable to exploit any vulnerabilities. It is one of the ways of avoiding android malware.
Install antivirus apps
Antivirus and anti-malware apps are now available for mobile phones, so download one for protection. But again, make sure that you download a legitimate app from a trusted source otherwise, you may end up downloading ‘a nuisance in disguise’!
Don’t jailbreak or root your device
Jailbreaking can make your phone devoid of its built-in security, increasing the risk of infection from an untrusted third party. So, do not jailbreak or root your device, and take advantage of the automatic security updates.
Android malware is widespread, and you might not even realize that you have installed something suspicious on your phone. So the best way is to avoid all such things that can lead to the installation of malware and keep a regular check on your device for any possible malfunction. Android malware can be potentially dangerous. So, BEWARE OF IT!
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Also Read: A Beginner’s Guide To Crm Systems
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Last Modified: July 7, 2021 at 2:14 pm