TechieNews in the UK recently ran a (story) declaring 9% of Android apps contain malware. This was based on a Cheetah Mobile security report that examined 24.4 million apps from official and unofficial app stores and found 2.2 million of them infected with some form of malicious code. Of those, 68% were payment related viruses, and another 16% were consumption related viruses. Combining those figures gives you a total of 84% of malicious apps being aimed squarely mobile commerce – a clear sign that attackers are increasingly targeting this emerging sector.
Here are three things to keep in mind when strategizing how best to protect your personal data.
1. Use only the official Google Play store and Apple’s App Store.
While this won’t keep you 100% safe from malware, using the official app stores is far less risky. As the report notes, mobile malware infection rates are highest in Europe and Asia because of the prevalence of third-party app stores in these regions. Viruses from third-party vendors account for 99.8% of all infections. Why take a chance?
2. Mobile anti-malware is largely ineffective.
Too many users take no security precautions with their smartphones, but those with security concerns may have installed anti-malware apps in the belief it would help keep them safe. Traditional anti-virus and anti-malware programs are largely ineffective in mobile due to application sandboxing. Furthermore, anti-malware programs can only scan a device for a ïknown bad’ “code, in other words, that has already been used by attackers and appears in the anti-malware maker’s database. It won’t protect you against newly devised malicious code and the pace of innovation in the mobile space is difficult overstate. What’s more, in 2013, researchers at Northwestern University concluded that the leading mobile anti-virus programs were”susceptible to common evasion techniques” that rendered them ineffective.
3. Visibility is key.
viaProtect allows you unprecedented visibility into what your device is really doing. It can show what organizations your phone is communicating with, what countries it is sending data to, and whether that data is encrypted. viaProtect (download link below) will tell you if your phone has been jailbroken, resulting in a higher risk rating. Baselines will tell you if your phone is being heavily active when it shouldn’t be, alerting you to possible malicious activity. Rather than just scanning for malicious code, it offers a real-time, comprehensive look at what your mobile devices are doing behind the screens.
With mobile commerce increasingly being targeted by attackers, isn’t it time you started protecting your data? If you’re interested in learning about what is going on with your device, download viaProtect using the links below.