Two New Cyberheist Spyware Programs Can Infect Android Phones

According to this story at CSOOnline. com ("More Mobile Spyware Hits Android"), security software firm NetQin Mobile, Inc. has captured a pair of new spyware programs from the wild that target Android based smartphones. These two items carry the labels "SW.SecurePhone" and "SW.Qieting" and can harvest and broadcast personal information from infected devices. Here's the skinny:

    • SW.SecurePhone works as an app. It runs continuously as a background execution thread, and gathers information from text messages, call logs, and pictures. The program uploads them to a remote server, and can also harvest location information and record local sound on an infected device.

    • SW.Qieting forwards all incoming messages to a monitoring phone.

So far, both of these malware programs have been detected primarily in the USA, and are generally picked up through the Internet. Neither of these items displays an icon, so it's not readily apparent which Android devices are infected and which remain clean. Here's some advice that NetQin offers to Android device owners to help them protect themselves against these rogue programs:

    • Only download apps from trustworthy sources. Always check reviews and ratings, and scope out the developers before you download anything to your device.

    • As apps install, watch app permission requests carefully. Apps should never ask for more capability that what's described in its list of disclosed features.

    • Monitor fees and phone activity closely: these can clue you in that an infection has occurred.

    • Always install some trusted security application to protect your Android device. In addition to NetQin's own Mobile Anti-virus, Lookout Mobile Security, and WaveSecure Mobile Security are worth considering as well.

Just as you can't run an Internet-connected PC without malware protection nowadays, neither can you leave a smartphone unprotected. As Android usage and popularity increase, we expect malware incidents (and malware that targets this OS) to grow apace.

Topics: Cybercrime, KnowBe4

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