Android: how to spot the malware lurking in your smartphone?

Android malware can find sneaky ways
to trap you. For example, a mobile application called Ads Blocker is
presented as a service to reduce mobile ads
unwanted. But users soon discovered that it was hiding a
malware that only served more ads.
This is just one of the many malware that plagues the OS
from Google. Some may even generate fake clicks on ads for
increase the income of their creators.

Researchers say that advertising applications like Ads
Blocker are the most common malware on Android.
However, other malicious apps can do much worse,
like stealing personal information on the phone.

Publisher Malwarebytes claims to have found nearly 200,000 malware on
mobiles of its customers in May and June. How to tell if your phone
contains malware and how can you stop it?
Here are some tips from the experts.

How malware works on your phone

Generally, mobile malware adopts two kinds
approaches, explains Adam Bauer, security researcher for the
Lookout mobile security. The first type of malware tricks you into granting
permissions that allow him to access information
sensitive. This is where the Ads Blocker app comes in, and many
of the permissions she requested look like a real
ad blocker would claim. But they also allow
the application to run constantly in the background in order to push
advertisements even when the user is using unrelated applications.

The second type of malware exploits the vulnerabilities of
phones and access sensitive information by giving each other
administrator privileges. No need to make victims click on
"OK" when requesting authorization. As a result, the malware can
perform discreetly without the suspicion of its presence.

Signs of the Potential Presence of Malware

  • You are constantly seeing ads no matter what app
    you use ;

  • You install an application, then the icon immediately disappears;

  • Your battery drains much faster than usual;

  • You see apps that you don't recognize on your
    phone.

If one or more of these phenomena occurs on your smartphone
Android, urgent action is needed to unmask and eliminate the intruder.

Ransomware on Android phones

Another type of malware is ransomware or ransomware in
English. Victims see their files locked and can no longer
access their data. Usually, a message appears to request a
payment in bitcoin to recover them. Fortunately, most
ransomware on Android can only lock files on a
external storage, which is a lesser evil.

What mobile malware can do

In addition to harassing you with incessant advertising, malware
can access private information:

  • Your bank details ;

  • Information about your mobile;

  • Your phone number and / or email address;

  • Your contacts directory.

Hackers can use this information for various acts
malicious: impersonate your bank details;
sell your personal information until you are overwhelmed by
phone calls, text messages and other advertisements; send some
links to other malware to anyone listed
in your contacts.

How to counter malware on your Android phone

Whether you think you already have malware on your Android phone, or you
you just wanted to protect yourself from it, there are solutions.

First of all, be sure to keep your mobile OS up to date. The experts
safe consider this practice to be one of the most
important to protect themselves. If your phone is already infected with a
malware, Android updates may fix some
vulnerabilities that it exploits and render it inoperative.

The other step is to review the permissions available
your applications. Does a game have the ability to send SMS? This is
unnecessary and that is a potential red flag, says Adam Bauer.

Other malicious applications give themselves privileges
administrator, so they cannot be deleted without
many stages. If you're having trouble removing an app
specific, do an online search to find what worked
for other people.

One possible option is to install a

anti-virus
. This type of application can sometimes slow down your phone and you have to
know that it requires deep access to your phone in order to locate
malicious behavior and warn you. It is therefore imperative to
choose a reputable publisher. We recommend opting for
the paid option to benefit from the most effective features and
avoid suffering further advertising in return for free.

At a minimum, you can use services known as
Malwarebytes, Norton, Lookout or Bitdefender to scan your device
if you suspect there is malware on your phone.

Finally, you can get rid of or even better avoid apps
Android downloaded from third-party app stores. These apps are not
verified by Google and may more easily spread malware. Unlike Apple iOS, Android smartphones have the advantage of allowing the installation of applications without going through the official Google Play Store application store, it suffices to download the application file (in the format .APK) and allow the installation of applications from unknown sources in the settings.

This can be useful, for example it is what allows the publisher of Fortnite, whose application has been withdrawn from the Store, to be able to continue to offer its application on Android. But this permissiveness is a double-edged sword. Some sites that distribute APK files can also be malicious and deliver infected versions of the applications. If you ever need to install an app this way, be sure to download it from the publisher's official site or other trusted sites.

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Article from CNET.com adapted by CNETFrance
/ Image: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay

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