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Thread: [GUIDE] FAQ on viruses, malware & app security

  1. #1
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    Post [GUIDE] FAQ on viruses, malware & app security

    There is a lot of misinformation that exists about virus infection & malware on android devices. The most common being that malware does not exist for android. While that was once the case, sadly it is no longer true. It is also true to say, however, that Google have taken some very significant steps in the past 12 months to combat this problem from their side. This FAQ will answer some of the most common questions that are asked, so, as they said in Aliens 3, "rumour control, here are the facts"

    1. Malware does exist for android devices - BUT it is extremely rare when compared to Windows based malware.

    2. Malware has historically been found on the official Google Play Store - but only in less than around 200 apps in total, over a number of occasions and only for a short time prior to being removed.

    3. Malware is an issue on mobile devices - particularly smartphones - this report makes informative reading...
    Lookout Report - The State of Mobile Security 2012

    4. The best defence against malware is user knowledge & understanding. I recommend you read Android permissions explained, security tips, and avoiding malware - Android Forums

    5. There are a number of free security apps on the market - historically I have always used Lookout Security & Antivirus, by Lookout Mobile Security. Then, following excellent reviews & better features I changed to TrustGo - the first app & service ever to get a 100% rating from AV Test. (See post #3). Other apps are AVG, Avast!, & Norton, just to name some of the more popular ones that are available.

    Nowadays, however, I use CleanMaster & it's partner app CM Security - both available on the Play Store & I can highly recommend them as the best security app system I have ever used or seen on Android.

    6. A security app should not run your battery down or use up your system resources.
    The Official Lookout Blog | Infographic: Battery Saving 101

    7. Google now run a malware scanning service on the official Play Store - this provides a great security shield giving additional confidence in the Play Store. You can read the official announcement here Android and Security - Official Google Mobile Blog

    8. Android 4.2 - the latest version of Android on Google's Nexus 4/7/10 devices packs a new security system. Google's expanded malware scanner will build on top of the already-existing Google Play app scanner by checking third-party apps, too. This includes software downloaded from the Amazon Appstore as well as sideloaded apps. "We view security as a universal thing," Android VP of Engineering Hiroshi Lockheimer told Computerworld. "Assuming the user wants this additional insurance policy, we felt like we shouldn't exclude one source over another."

    Google promises that malware scanning on a device running the enhanced Jelly Bean OS will happen instantly and always take place in the background. "The server does all the hard work," Lockheimer told Computerworld. "The device sends only a signature of the APK so that the server can identify it rapidly." This means that safe programs will be installed uninterrupted. It's only when an app raises red flags or matches malicious software that users will see an alert.

    Although not yet available on the Samsung Tab range of devices, it is to be hoped that this update will be only a matter of time

    9. For the first time, although very limited in scope, "drive by" malware for android has been discovered. To give yourself 100% protection against this type of malware, ensure that in "settings, security" the check box next to "unknown sources" is NOT ticked.
    http://blog.mylookout.com/blog/2012/...noncompatible/
    Android Malware Used to Mask Online Fraud, Says Expert | PCWorld

    10. Readers will certainly be familiar with the annoying class of malware that has existed for years now on traditional pc systems which goes by the generic title of "adware". While many apps on the Play Store are free to use, they are supported by advertising that is displayed on the android device as a small advertising banner. This is very acceptable to many users as a "small price to pay" for a free app. Recently, however, there has been increasing use of more aggressive forms of advertising which "push" adverts to a systems' notification area even if the app is not being used at that time. This effectively amounts to an android equivelant of pc style adware. As these apps are not actually causing harm to a system, whether they should be classed as malware is a debate that can take place elsewhere on the forum, please , but as they are unwanted - if easily removed when identified - many users may consider them as such.

    There are now several apps which will detect this activity, identify which app is using this system & allow you to remove it. Searching for "airpush detector" on the Play Store should return a list. While this is not, in any way, a thread that is a "Lookout fanboy thread", you might like to know that Lookout also have an app for that, here is their news blog on the subject. The Official Lookout Blog | Lookout Labs Releases Push Ad Detector





    BROWSER SECURITY
    Another related subject is whether Android is safe to use for online transactions such as shopping or banking. There is no evidence that says that these activities are any less safe when performed on your Android Tablet than on any other OS. I regularly make online purchases from my tablet devices.

    There are, however, steps that should be taken, and these apply across all OSs.

    1. Don't use public wifi.

    2. Use security on your home router.

    3. Use a strong banking password (alphanumeric & case sensitive) & change it regularly.

    4. Don't store passwords/login details in your browser.

    5. Keep your browser apps up to date.

    6. Ensure you log in to your bank through the url you have entered, not from a link either in an email or anywhere else.

    7. Ensure you are logging in / paying / banking though an https connection.

    Transformer Forum member joietrans also makes the following useful comment on this subject:
    " I think it is also important to remember that what is vital to financial security is to keep a close watch over financial statements and when and how credit charges and other bank transactions become posted - whether you use internet banking sites or not. Fraud statistics have indicated that your financial information is far more likely to be compromised through low-tech mailbox theft, dumpster diving or someone lifting your credit card number when your card leaves your sight (like in a restaurant) than it is through internet banking. There is no substitute for vigilance over your financial records and checking your reports from the three credit reporting agencies on an annual basis. "
    Last edited by janner43; 09-30-2014 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Updated point 5 to refer to CM Security
    Astrix, tweebee and brakel like this.

  2. #2
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    Please feel free to ask any questions on this subject in this thread - hopefully someone will know the answer!

    However, this thread is being maintained as an information thread on the subject of android malware & security, so please do not engage in debates on the subject within the thread, or post general comments. Thank you. (Posts that do not follow this pattern will be deleted.)

    Some readers may want to say thanks for a particular post - can I ask that we keep the thread as tidy as possible by saying "thank you" by simply tapping the LIKE icon at the end of the post you like. It will make it much easier to read the thread that way. Thank you.

  3. #3
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    2013 Test by AV-Test gives one Android Security app 100% for the first time

    AV-Test is a leading player in the independent analysis of IT security & regularly quoted in magazines and websites. To quote the AV-Test website...

    The AV-TEST Institute is a leading international and independent service provider in the fields of IT security and anti-virus research.

    The aim of the research work carried out by AV-TEST is to directly detect the latest malware, to analyse it using state-of-the-art methods and to inform our customers of the top-quality results obtained.

    At our German laboratories in Magdeburg and Leipzig our team of 30 IT specialists boasting many years of expertise take a practical approach to the development of innovative analysis mechanisms and the application of high-quality test procedures. In order to achieve these objectives, AV-TEST provides optimal working conditions and development opportunities. After all, IT security is one of the key factors in the modern business and corporate world!
    AV-Test carry out regular reviews in this field and earlier this year awarded one Android Security App full marks & a 100% rating in their testing.

    That app was TrustGo, which can be found on the Play Store - given the success & features of the app it is worth noting that it is FREE.

    You can read their report here - AV-TEST - The Independent IT-Security Institute: Android and also download a copy of a PDF version of that report if it interests you.

    The top four apps were...
    1 TrustGo
    2 Lookout
    3=Symantec
    3=Trend Micro


 

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