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Protect your Phone from Android Malware

Protect your Phone from Android Malware

Android appears to be more prone to malware attacks in comparison of other mobile platforms. Malwares have been seen as a constant problem on most Android versions so far. Today, Android has turned into the top selling smartphone platform, but it is also a juicy target for hackers and attackers. Scammers and malware developers are eager to steal private information and money from innocent Android users, without their consent.

The first ever attack on Android appeared when SMS Trojan malware, called ‘Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a’ was discovered by Kaspersky Lab in August 2010. It was a 13kb media player app but once installed, it started to send text messages to premium rate numbers. Soon in the fourth quarter of 2010, McAfee discovered the most important threat, a ‘Trojan called Android/Geinimi’. It was inserted into legitimate apps for the Android platform. It had encrypted URLs linked back to botnet command servers. The Trojan could also download software from these servers. In September 2010 Kaspersky Lab again found one more set of malware ‘SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.b’. In June 2011 McAfee reported that Android OS is the second popular platform attracting attackers to spread malwares. The first one was Symbian OS.

Now, malware attack on Android OS has become a usual matter. Scammers and malware developers keep on changing their strategy of spreading malicious codes and even succeed in their efforts. It is believed that Android is the victim of its own fame and this fame is likely to grow in the future.

How it is the safest OS?

But, it does not mean that Android is vulnerable and has no protection facilities. Android is one of the most protected operating systems, which uses a separation of privileges approach to maintain security on the system, with apps based on unique identity using standard Linux user and group IDs. This facility separates the functioning of an application from other applications and even from operating system. Various processes performed by an app are subject to permission assessment and by default, no application has permission to affect / influence the functioning of other applications. When Android applications are developed, developers need to specify that the permission labels are liable to protect their own applications and other applications along with OS.

Where do pitfalls exist?

The phrase ‘Beauty is a Curse’ fits well here. Android’s beauty is its openness because it allows developers to customize the OS and applications for it. Customization to the OS is made by mobile manufacturers that optimize it according to specific hardware environment and customization to apps is made by programmers who want to add dynamic features for deriving more productivity. Conspiracy takes place at the app development process in which some developers wrap malicious codes with their apps which are downloaded by innocent users. Here, malware begins its game. In some cases apps want illogical permissions to access the hardware and software of user’s device and later scammers and malware developers use these permissions to remotely perform unlawful operations on a device, such as stealing private data, sending texts to premium numbers, spying on user’s activities on device and a lot of others.

Customization to application development is not harmful unless it affects the functionality of the OS or the app performs unnecessary operations. Although customization at OS level is also not harmful, but it creates another problem that is known as fragmentation. Nowadays rivals have made Android fragmentation a major issue to distract users from this platform, but still it is risk-free.

As far as malware is concerned, Google itself seems to be too much serious about the issue. Google recently added-in a safety technology Google Bouncer to Google Play. It is designed to stop harmful apps from occurring in the store.

How to protect it?

What user can do at their end is quite simple and nontechnical. Users should avoid downloading free apps as these are the only way through which maliciously coded applications enter a device. If you really want to download a free app then never forget to check the permissions it wants to access the hardware/software facilities of your device. Before downloading any free app, you can also check feedbacks posted by other users. There are a number of Antivirus and Anti-malware apps which you can download on your device to make it foolproof.

For more info about Android applications you can hire our Android developers.

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