Mobile Security Infestation
Like every invention and innovation that makes our lives easier, smartphone apps always come with caveats.
Sometimes they cost too much; other times, they exhibit addictive qualities that make it harder to stop using them. But lately, one of the most significant issues facing smartphone users that love a good app, particularly those with Android phones, is that of mobile security. Malicious apps have been traced to app store purchases; illegal monitoring of voicemails and texts; and data theft. If you can think of it, it’s probably been done.
Android mobile apps are notorious for making up 97% of the malware in the app store. From Flappy Bird clones to simple arcade games, one of the most common means of hacking an individual’s phone stems from malicious applications that do one of many things: some record cell phone conversations and send them hackers, some download malware onto the device itself, and some even take complete control of the mobile phone, rendering the owner completely helpless.
Some of the worst offenders include:’
- Geinimi Trojan
- Found connected to innocuous games like “Monkey Jump 2,” and 30 or more apps like it, Geinimi takes control of the smartphone it has been downloaded onto and sends everything – all texts, contact info, and GPS locations are sent to a server where your information is used to rent out to third party spammers, send texts and make phone calls – on your dime.
- This app specializes in pinpointing your GPS location and sending that information to an external server. Then, it will download another piece of software called GPS Spy, which would then sift through and send out the rest of your information to buyers.
- This virus is particularly lethal in that it attempts to hack into your phone, and then target nearby computers to spread at a much faster rate, and through different types of media hardware.
This malware that is frequently embedded into high-quality sites, where it quietly hacks into Android phones that visit the site on mobile. It also sent out spam messages that gradually helped it hack 20,000 smartphones on a daily basis.
The virus pretends to act as a software install, as it gradually adds your device to a botnet. From there, it will send out spam at such a high rate, there will be little hope for your battery life and data plan.
This particular virus is much more vicious than the former, as it actively hacks into smartphones hoping to seize your banking data to drain your financial accounts. It’s a member of a group of viruses known as “Banking Trojans,” which can penetrate two-factor authentication systems to get to the most private information on your phone. Officials believe the original creator of Hesperbot may be a man living in the Ukraine, but he has yet to be caught. As of right now, cyber security experts warn small to medium-sized businesses to stay on high alert.
“You can do a lot of damage,” Peter Kruse, founder of CSIS Security Group, said. “If you hit some of the small to medium size companies with attacks like this, you can really steal a lot of money.”
There are currently 27 online safety campaigns running around the world to contain Hesperbot.
While there are many techniques that can help avoid playing victim to these and other viruses (check reviews before purchasing an app, keep your phone password-locked, download security software to your phone the way you would a PC) the threat remains a constant reminder that we have to be vigilant of every technological device we use.
Here’s an infographic that will detail how the pervasive nature of technology has left us vulnerable to hackers – and what you can do to avoid becoming a statistic.
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