It seems like only last week I was prophesying the coming of the smartphone malware era and here it is. DroidDream is the new breed of malware targeted at infecting your smartphone disguised as an application. Once it gains entry, it collects personal identifying information and opens a backdoor through which even more executable code can slip.
The ways to avoid smartphone malware and prevent smartphone malware are evolving with the threats and even the best antivirus solutions we know of need to be adapted as threats are developed and released.
Realize that your phone is a computer and is vulnerable like a computer. There are security apps for (safe) download that can be of immense help. There are also plenty of settings on your handset that can be enacted and will be a huge part of protecting your phone.
The third method just involves being aware of the dangers and using sound judgment when considering downloads or leaving the house.
"Keep calm and carry on," but take this opportunity to learn about the new dangers facing users of Android smartphones. Here are some vital security measures that will protect your computer-phone from malicious software.
- Lock down your handset. Set a password, PIN, fingerprint, or pattern lock - whatever security measures are available on your phone, use them. When your phone is locked it is safe.
- Choose and use an antivirus scanner. Heretofore excused as pointless, antivirus scanner apps such as Lookout will now be an important line of defense when downloading other apps. There are some further recommendations for these below.
- Research reviews for apps before downloading - also look into the developer's history. A developer with one or two apps to their name and a poor description are all red flags.
- Examine permissions before downloading. Make sure the permissions correspond to the tasks being performed by the potential app. If something doesn't match up, it's best to move on.
- Limit Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. When you leave your house, disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to limit outside network access to your device. Set it so that you have to give a mobile hotspot or foreign network your permission to connect.
- Limit screen timeout setting. Setting the screen timeout to one minute or fewer limits access to your phone's computer one minute after you are no longer actively using it. When malware
- Steer away from installing APK files. APK is a file format that represents Android Package Files. APKs are part of the shining genius of the Android opensource philosophy allowing amateur developers to contribute to the application-building industry. It does have a dark side now, though. The same element that makes APKs a great opportunity for legitimate devs is the same thing that allows the criminal element to easily mold their destructive codes into an APK structure that will deceive unwary users.
Some recommended security applications include Lookout, McAfee WaveSecure and DroidDream Killer by Chris Ravenscroft.
DroidDream Killer is the quickfix for dealing with malware that's already slipped through and been installed. AppScan Beta by Aegislab should prevent a virus download from ever happening in the first place.
Lookout also scans applications before you download them to let you know whether or not it's safe.
These are just the basics of how to avoid smartphone malware; we are learning new things all the time about how to stay protected and get the most out of these marvels of human computer engineering.