FBI Warns Android Users of Malware

When it comes to Apple vs. Android , just like Mac vs. Windows, there will always be one aspect of the OS’s that Apple will constantly win, and that is security. Apple App store approval and testing is extremely vigorous and while no platform will ever be 100% bug or virus free Apple do a hell of a job keeping it’s customer’s safe. So when the Internet Crime Complaint Centre (IC3), who work closely with, and assist, the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, it was geared much more towards the Android market than Apple.

The malware it describes are two viruses by the names of Loozfon and FinFisher. Apple has been targeted by an iOS version of FinFisher int he past so if you are worried then keep scrolling to read the IC3’s tips on how to avoid malicious spyware.

See Also : AntiVirus for iPhone

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IC3 describes the two viruses as follows :

  • Loozfon is an information-stealing piece of malware. Criminals use different variants to lure the victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity that promises a profitable payday just for sending out email. 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.
  • FinFisher is a spyware capable of taking over the components of a mobile device. When installed the mobile device can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where the Target is located. FinFisher can be easily transmitted to a Smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or opens a text message masquerading as a system update.

It is essential that Smartphone users take note of the ways that these kind of viruses target their victims as it can only take one wrong click and your device could be infected.

The IC3 released these tips to guard against falling prey to these viruses:

  • When purchasing a Smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
  • Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user’s personal data in the case of loss or theft.
  • With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.
  • Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.
  • Passcode protect your mobile device. This is the first layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device. In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.
  • Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user’s location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.
  • Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device. Anytime a user, application or service runs in “unrestricted” or “system” level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.
  • Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.
  • Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.
  • Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
  • Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet

Some of these steps won’t apply to Apple users, although others, such as location settings and wiping your phone before selling it are points that can be used on all platforms and all phones. Jailbreaking is mentioned as a security risk and although it does remove some of the security around the phone it has been around for 5 years and no one has yet reported any serious incidents .

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