If you’re an Android user, you might be under attack right now! One of the most popular solutions for mobile phone users around the world, the Android ecosystem has gotten a gigantic boost for its open source policy. Unlike other companies in the mobile space (like Apple, for instance) Android handsets and software (some of them) allow you a full use and customization of your phone – even going so far to even offer developer kits to completely customize and tweak your phone if you have the skill set and knowledge to do so! But you should be alert though, as more and more people are trying to get through your system.
This open source license, as strong of a benefit as there is in the mobile world, has a very large drawback that isn’t going to be easily addressed – because of the open source nature of the devices and software, there are often glaring security holes left open in the system. These holes, while invisible to average users like you and I, are a hacker and technology thief’s dream, and for this reason Android is one of the biggest targets for malware in the mobile computing space.
While the attacks that have so far been averted and studied are less sophisticated than the ones that have been around for years in the PC and Mac world, they are no doubt increasing and becoming stronger with each and every iteration. As more and more people turn to their mobile devices to do things like banking, shopping, and trading, hackers will have incentive to develop more and more sophisticated technologies and viruses to steal that valuable and confidential information.
There is an estimation out there from the Threats Report by McAfee that in just Quarter 2 of 2012, almost 1.5 million new versions of malware were detected – and if this is the number of ones that were detected, think of all the viruses that are slipping through the net!
Android users are by far the biggest target of this new breed of mobile hacking, and the users need to be absolutely certain that they are keeping their head on a swivel when it comes to making sure their devices and personal information stays protected. Any and all devices that have the ability to connect to the internet (whether through WiFi or over the wireless network) should be inspected and monitored for any suspicious activity, and have protection methods established on each.
Protect your Android and your personal information
There are a couple of easy things you can do to boost our level of protection when using an Android device. One of the biggest ones for your own protection is to always, always use and download apps only from the Google Play authorized store. Apps and downloads coming from an unknown third party source is almost always the culprit in close to 99% of the cases of malware on the Android platform, and a lot of this can be ducked just by getting your stuff straight from the Google Play store. If there is a third party app that you’re just wanting to have, then you should take the steps to search the app and the developer in Google and read as many reviews as you can – this will give you a great idea if the app is on the level or not.
Android Security Apps
Another thing, always install a security app for your lovely android phone because this can help you to secure your information further. You can check out the available anti-virus apps in Google Play Store here. Also, if you’re not aware, rooting an android phone can also open some vulnerabilities if you’re not careful in choosing your app sources and you’re just neglecting app permissions. You can read our detailed explanation of the good and the bad on android rooting here.
Always check the permissions needed by an app. Why? Because it is pretty obvious that a game doesn’t need a permission to send text messages, access the gallery and so on. Don’t let them fool you. If it looks suspicious, then forget about it and move on.
There are a lot security apps available for the Android platform, but if you stick to the rules outlined above you should be pretty much in the clear path. Mobile security is very real and a booming industry, and as we become more and more connected you should take pains to make sure you’re information is protected from those who wish to steal it.