5 Biggest Android Security Risks and Their SolutionsBy Alia Haley • May 24th, 2012
Whenever we think of viruses, spyware and malware we tend to worry about or PCs. We have a preconceived notion that the majority of such attacks take place on the PCs and laptops, but how about malware on your tablet and mobile phone? Sounds unbelievable? Well, it’s a reality if the device is working on Android operating system. In this article we will discuss the top 5 security risks and their solutions.
SMShing is nothing but yet another variant of phishing that uses text messages to trick the unsuspecting smartphone users into visiting malicious links. The hackers are hell bent on exploiting the openness and popularity of the Android OS. A recent report has suggested that nearly 50% of the bad Android apps in circulation today are noting but SMS Trojans. These apps continue to send text messages in the background, without your knowledge, to premium-rate numbers and therefore increase the monthly bills. At the end of the month you will receive a shocking high bill.
The best way to protect the device from a SMS Trojan is to avoid it in the first place. You need to install an Android security suite that will safeguard your device from all kinds of threats. Do not install apps that sound or appear suspicious. Users can add dedicated apps which have the ability to block potentially expensive texts and enterprises may consider setting up a Mobile Device Manager or MDM that can monitor wireless expenses incurred by the Android device.
2. Carrier IQ
In 2011 it was discovered that a root kit from the software developer Carrier IQ was present in million of Android based mobile devices. Though this was not extremely dangerous but it must be noted that the code regularly logged the locations of the users and the keystrokes including the passwords. Now this is a real threat as all this happened without any knowledge of the user and unfortunately there is no option to disable it. There is a real need to guard against this threat and for this the user can install Carrier IQ Test which is a free app to detect and delete this software which is totally unsanctioned.
3. Preloaded apps
Every smartphone or tablet comes loaded with some apps and software. These are not included in Android but are added by the manufacturer. However, some of these apps contain serious threats to security as they are to able to wipe a handset and even listening on phone calls. But since many of these previously apps are embedded in the OS, you just cannot remove them. If you are using Ice Cream Sandwich, you can hide these malicious apps. Just go to Settings and disable the required application.
4. AWOL Androids
The foremost concern regarding any mobile device or tablet is loss of data. More than 50% of smartphone and tablet users are unable to recover date or content which has been lost. Apple iPhone users are at an advantage as they can recover anything from iTunes but no such luxury exists for Android users. However, users can avoid this data loss in a couple of ways. You can install an app for quick restoration of lost data. These applications have been programmed to automatically back-up your data. You can register your Android with any of the ‘Find Me’ services that are available as they help to locate and recover any lost Android device.
5. Fake Google Play stores
In early 2012 Google changed Android Market into Google Play where users can get consolidated services like apps, music and e-books. But this provided an opportunity for cyber criminals to create fake or malicious Google Play domains in order to trick the users to install malicious apps. But there is no need to lose sleep over this. You can fight this if you act smartly. It is always advisable to refrain from installing the Google Play app on your own through downloading. The safest approach would be to follow the usual procedures that are required for updating the OS of the device.
As days pass by hackers and cyber criminals are devising new and ‘better’ ways to attack your mobile device and tablet. Many will tend to think that a war is going on against Android. However, if you think and act smartly you can avoid the many traps and protect your device from malicious apps and software.
About the author: Alia Haley is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on technology and autos. Beside this she is fond of cars and fancy accessories. Recently an article on Gizmowatch attracted her attention. These days she is busy in writing an article on cellphonebeat.