Android and Malware: Protecting Yourself from Threats

August 17th, 2012 Leave a comment
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Android and Malware

As our mobile devices become more prevalent, we tend to use them for the most sensitive of tasks. Banking, business applications, email and social networks are all available through our Android devices. Along with our favorite applications, malware and trojans are also making their way onto the scene and into our information. In this article we will look at how to protect yourself from these threats and keep your data safe.

Often, malware makes its way onto our device through applications we have installed in the Android marketplace. While there are differing opinions on mobile security, you cannot ignore that there may be significant threats to devices that hold a large market share. These are easy targets for developers of malicious software.

Google has found that a number of free Android applications may be infected with malware and while these applications may seem harmless you would want to avoid downloading applications without doing the following:

  • Research the publisher: It is easy to check out the publisher of the app you want and find out what other applications they have published. If you look at their other apps and they don’t look reputable, you shouldn’t download any of them.
  • Check out reviews: By reading the reviews that other users have posted outside of the Android Market you can get a better sense if the application is clean or not. Remember that reviews posted on the Android Market may not be truthful so always go to third-parties.
  • Check permissions: When you download an app you get a list of permissions for it. Make sure the permissions are appropriate for the type of application you are installing. If an app is trying to get more permissions than what it should need, you should be on guard for trouble.
  • Avoid APK files: The direct installation of APK files or “sideloading” opens up your device to problems. Because you cannot inspect APK files before installing them you will not be able to tell what is inside them before it is too late.
  • Do your homework: There are several lists available online of infected applications that you can use to check the validity of your planned download. You should do some searching to see if the app you want is on these lists and save yourself a headache.

You can also protect your Android device by installing a malware or antivirus scanner. Several options are available, many of them free which can be used to detect threats and keep your data safe. Google is also working to make the applications downloaded in the Android Market safer with their new Bouncer, which has already lowered malicious app downloads by 40%.

As Android threats become more prevalent, it will be more important than ever to have protective measures in place. Using the measures above will create good habits that will help keep your device safe from trojans and other malicious software.

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