It is an unfortunate fact of technology that just as it makes our lives more efficient and convenient, it can also make us more vulnerable as we become more dependent on it. The seemingly endless cybersecurity threats targeting smartphones are just one example of this problem, thanks in part to how much we rely on them to do everything from banking online to making important purchases. And if you are among the millions of people who use an Android phone, you may want to be aware of the latest warning that has just been issued. Read on to learn about the security concerns currently threatening popular devices.
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While it may seem like Apple has a cornered market on mobile devices, the truth is that Android makes up a much bigger part than many may realize. Products made by Google make up 70 percent of the global market share, compared to 25 percent for Apple’s iOS as of January 2022, according to Statista. Unfortunately, this popularity makes them an attractive target for cybercriminals looking to take advantage of some security vulnerabilities or push out nefarious software.
Recently, financial cybersecurity firm ThreatFabric announced in a blog post that it had discovered a new version of a notorious piece of malware targeting Android known as “Octo”. The company warned that once users accidentally download the software, the device can essentially be taken over and used to commit fraud and mine for sensitive information while working covertly in the background. On March 25, Google announced that it had banned dozens of apps from its Google Play Market after a private investigation discovered that one of the companies involved in developing them had designed these apps to secretly collect and transfer data about users who had downloaded them. The Wall Street Journal mentioned.
Unfortunately, security threats to Android users have not stopped appearing. In a post on May 6, cybersecurity firm Kaspersky announced that it had discovered three apps in the Google Play Store that contained a Trojan hacking program known as “Jocker.” While Google previously banned any apps containing the code, the company warns that the software could get through the security measures put in place by the tech giant to catch malware, the sun reports.
According to Kaspersky’s investigation, the three nefarious apps they discovered are called blood pressure app, camera PDF scanner, and pattern message. However, scammers have also copied other popular apps and brands to lure victims, as deceptive gaming apps like Minecraft, GTA5, Vidmate and GameBeyond have all been found to harbor the software.
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Kaspersky explains that malware can pose a potential financial threat once it finds its way into a device, which scammers often achieve by downloading known apps, adding malicious code, and backing up the modified version on the Google Play Store. Then the program will request access to read text messages, which it uses to steal confirmation codes and secretly register the victim for expensive subscriptions through other apps, the sun reports.
The cybersecurity firm explains that “most apps completely lack any legitimate functionality.” “They start the subscription immediately after their launch, while the user sees an upload window.”
From there, users may not notice the fees as they come up over time. “Usually they pay for legitimate services in the user’s name and scammers deduct the money that’s being billed. These types of subscription fees tend to evade phone credit,” the company wrote.
It is also necessary to control how you interact with programs after you download them. The cybersecurity firm warns that “even if you trust an app, you should avoid giving it too many permissions.” “Only allow notification access for apps that they need to perform their intended purposes — for example, to move notifications to wearables. Apps for something like themed wallpapers or photo editing don’t need to access your notifications.”
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