Posts tagged with: malware
  • by | April 15, 2014 1:40 PM

    Heartbleed may be dominating the headlines when it comes to security topics lately, and while that one does pose some specific risks for smartphone users, it's far from alone among all the vulnerabilities out there. Today we hear about Google's efforts to address one that's new to us, an oversight in how Android manages permissions that could set the stage for malicious software to orchestrate a phishing attack. The problem stems from a pair of unprotected permissions tied to the Android launcher's configuration settings. Since they're classified at the low-risk “normal” permission ...

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  • by | April 10, 2014 1:30 PM

    Back at the tail end of February we heard about an improvement Google was working on to the way Android helps protect users against malicious software, building off the existing Verify Apps framework that evaluated apps at the time of installation to introduce a system that continually monitored apps to check for ne'er-do-wells, even after the software was already loaded on your phone. Today Google confirms that report and announces the introduction of this newly enhanced scanning service. While this is largely a better-safe-than-sorry measure, and most users who get their apps from ...

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  • by | March 12, 2014 7:05 PM

    Thanks to last month's big Facebook acquisition, WhatsApp has been attracting a lot of attention lately. While that should only help grow its already impressively large 450-million-person-strong user base, that extra attention also means that more people are placing the app under a critical light. Today we learn of a potential security vulnerability in how WhatsApp saves logs of your conversations; what exactly is the problem here, and is it one you need to be concerned about? WhatsApp uses your phone's SD card for storage (whether physical or a virtual part of the internal file system), ...

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  • by | March 5, 2014 3:34 PM

    Malware can do a lot of scary things: your money, your documents, even your identity can be taken from you. But on Android smartphones the threat posed by malicious apps has largely seemed manageable, so long as users take certain precautions, like not sideloading apps without trusting the devs behind them, and sticking to mainstream app stores. But now we're hearing about a troubling new wrinkle in the war on malware, with reports suggesting that some phones are being sold with such nasty apps present; is there cause for concern? Here's what's going on: a security firm got some complaints ...

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  • by | February 27, 2014 4:08 PM

    Android malware exists – there's no sugar-coating that – but for the majority of users, it's a remote threat at best. So long as you're installing apps from trusted sources and keeping on top of any security updates that come your way, you're in great shape. But just because Android security is already decent doesn't mean it can't get even better. A new update going out in the next few weeks will help do just that, making an important change to Google's “Verify Apps” feature. Right now, Verify Apps does a quick check of apps when you install them. It scans them – even sideloaded ...

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  • by | January 24, 2014 3:03 PM

    Malware – whether we're talking trojans, viruses, worms, or the old logic bomb – tends to be very platform-specific. By its nature, that makes a lot of sense; the exploits that allow malware to plant its roots in a system are themselves often intimately tied to the OS, and the need for this code to run and spread virtually unassisted means it can't get too bogged down by planning to infect every possible system it comes across – it needs to do one thing, and do it well. So smartphone malware, by and large, tends to stay just on smartphones. Last year, though, there was at least one ...

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  • by | November 19, 2013 12:05 PM

    When a developer is writing code, the presumption is that he or she is attempting to do so while avoiding the creation of unwanted security vulnerabilities. And then we have review and testing to help catch any holes that may have slipped through. Still, it's not a perfect process, and some of those vulnerabilities make their way to released software. Eventually, the bugs might be spotted, either by white hats looking to keep things secure, or hackers looking for something new to exploit. Google isn't content to just sit back and let all that happen on its own, and has been getting ...

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  • by | October 10, 2013 12:41 PM

    Today at Pocketnow we're going to diverge from talking about smartphones and tablets for a moment, and instead we're going to talk about diseases -- communicable diseases. Don't worry though, the topic is applicable to whatever smartphone you're carrying around with you now, and has much to do with Android malware, the way Google handles it, the various layers of protection involved, and the number of people who are exposed to threats that could get through the defenses. The Centers for Disease Control and Management know that it's impossible to eradicate all disease. Instead, the ...

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  • by | June 8, 2013 12:58 AM

    It's been a while since we've seen malware, Android Trojan, or other malicious software reports; not that we missed them! Google is doing it's best, and a good job at that, to keep malware off of our phones. Some slip through the cracks though. Kaspersky Lab Expert Roman Unuchek brings our attention to what he calls "the most sophisticated" Android Trojan. Long story short: we're looking at a multi-functional Android Trojan than can send text messages to premium-rate numbers; download and install other malware programs on its own; share them via Bluetooth; and perform commands in the ...

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  • by | April 3, 2013 12:08 PM

    The story of the Trojan Horse originates from an ancient battle between the Greeks and their siege of the city of Troy. As the tale goes, the Greeks, after trying to defeat Troy for 10 years, built a huge wooden horse -- a supposed token of victory to the Trojans. They wheeled the large statue to the gates of Troy, then pretended to sail away. The Trojans pulled the horse inside the gates, not knowing that a Greek invasion force lay hid inside. When night fell, the Greeks crept out of the horse,  opened the gates, and allowed the rest of the Greek army in -- they'd sailed back under cover ...

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  • by | March 12, 2013 3:44 PM

    Apple's Phil Schiller recently posted a tweet aimed squarely at Android users: "Be safe out there", followed by a link to F-Secure's latest Mobile Threat Report. That was last week and the talking-heads are already on a roll. Some are claiming vindication, even going as far as saying that Apple has won the war. Others have retaliated against Schiller saying tweet was uncalled for. The source behind the tweet is really at the meat of the issue. It's a 34-page .PDF that outlines the mobile threats in the world today. That report, too, has received quite a bit of coverage in the news and ...

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  • by | March 6, 2013 3:33 PM

    When we talk about risky apps, we're usually doing so in the context of malware. Such malicious programs are one way our data can be compromised, but even apps that are on the up-and-up could still be putting our personal data and privacy at risk. Appthority recently took a look at the fifty most popular free Android and iOS apps to see just how safe they might be, and Android seems to be the platform that's putting its users at less of a risk. For this comparison, the study looked at behaviors like the use of encryption when connecting with servers, requesting access to your contacts and ...

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  • by | November 5, 2012 7:34 PM

    One of the advantages of locking down devices and only allowing apps to be installed through a "walled garden" of an app store is the ability to (theoretically) pre-screen every line of code in every app that's submitted, which virtually guarantees that your platform will be "malware free". Of course neither Apple nor Microsoft pre-screen every line of code in every app in their respective app stores, but who's counting, right? Google does things differently. Rather than approving every single app before it's listed in their Play Store, Google includes it automatically -- letting the free ...

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