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More fake apps are causing real losses

Rogue apps remain the biggest security threat for mobile phone users, with hundreds of thousands of new malware apps being generated on a daily basis. Malicious apps are […]

Rogue apps remain the biggest security threat for mobile phone users, with hundreds of thousands of new malware apps being generated on a daily basis. Malicious apps are not only abundant, but also especially devious and greedy when it comes to stealing and using your personal data.

Phones are a prime target

“Hackers target smartphones because they are so rich with data,” advises Emilio Simoni, Research Director at the dfndr lab, “our lives are tied to our phones in so many ways: our work, our families, our buying habits, our financial tools, and of course we’re physically tied to them as well.” Simoni continues: “With accelerometer and GPS functions becoming standard “always on” functions, our phones literally follow our every move.”

What are the risks?

The variety of uses made of personal data are almost as numerous as the types of malicious apps generated. Many apps simply steal personal information and resell it to companies who are eager to gobble up masses of personal data. Browser histories, GPS information, accelerometer data, and network information can be gathered and exported without your permission when an app has been given (or taken) the right permissions. Of course, logins, personal security and financial information can also be more directly leveraged. Ransomware is another common technique, where an app locks up a phone and demands payment to release it back to the user. 

“We see increasingly sophisticated scams taking place,” Simoni warns, “where gathering data is simply the first step in the process. This information then used to leverage the subject or to perpetrate fraud or crimes involving phishing or identity theft.”

Simoni concludes: “The costs can be significant,” which is why you have to protect yourself — both with knowledge, and with a good software solution.”

How to identify malicious apps?

This is getting harder to do all the time, as hackers have become more sophisticated — which is why we suggest employing a software solution like dfndr security pro. (dfndr security, in premium version, features a SafeApp checking function designed expressly for this purpose). But your own wary eye can also provide a first-line of defense. 

Here are a few key guidelines:

  • Get your apps from a reputable source. Google’s Play Store isn’t able to immediately catch every malicious app that comes down the pike: but they are on the lookout, and apps that are offered to you through alternative channels are much more likely to be malicious.
  • Check permissions. If a simple app is asking for a lengthy list of permissions, you may be signing up for more than you bargained for.
  • Find out who made the app. Check to see the developer’s name and click on the link to their page and all their other apps. Does everything look legitimate? Or are the apps sketchy and the presentation of their features incomplete?
  • Google it. Find out what you can find out about the developer. You may find a conversation already underway that can save you a heap of trouble!
  • Examine their language. Does the developer sound like they wrote their description while thinking about something else — like maybe the next malicious app they’re going to create? Not a good sign. In fact, a common sign that you’re dealing with malicious software.

Use a reputable security app, like dfndr security 

“We would recommend that everyone employ a good security app on their devices these days, especially their mobile phones,” Emilio Simoni urges, “the risks are just too numerous and the potential losses can be steep.” 

However, the good news is that a focused security capability can spot malicious apps with great accuracy and reliability. dfndr security Pro offers a Safe App feature, which checks-for, and warns you about malicious code, before you download any application. It also provides historical insight — warning you if the app has had its data breached and leaked to unauthorized users. “Our team is on the case around the clock, making sure our security solutions are the most complete on the market,” Simoni concludes: “it’s the kind of job you definitely want to entrust to experts!”

What to do if you have downloaded a mailicious app?

The free version of dfndr security offers a full antivirus capability that can remove viruses from your phone. This version also enables you to schedule an auto virus-scan to run periodically, which will search-for and identify any new digital threats.

Prevention is the best way to go, and that’s why we encourage you to get a good security solution for your devices as soon as possible.

More about dfndr security

dfndr security is a free app that can help you manage the storage, battery life, and wifi security of your digital device, while also offering protection via a url checker, and anti hacker and phishing protections. You can try dfndr security PRO for 3-days free, and upgrade if you like the protection it provides. dfndr security Pro offers:

Safe App installer — checks for malicious apps before you install them

Identity Theft Reports — So you know if your online credentials have leaked

App Privacy Protection — Offers notifications about issues with apps you’re using; app data breaches, permissions you’ve granted to various apps, and info about where your data may be used.

Anti-Theft Protection — Protects your phone from thieves with an alarm, remote lock-out, and a picture of the thief.

dfndr security Pro is a full suite of protection for users who recognize that they must take an active role in their own digital security.

You can download dfndr security Pro and start your free trial right away.