Protect your phone from viruses
Published: Sunday, February 3, 2013
Updated: Sunday, February 3, 2013 23:02
Malware, trojans and viruses are all capable of damaging operating systems by executing malicious code. They don’t favor Windows or OSX. They are created to steal information, hijack a network and digitally propagate themselves to other electronics, thus furthering the cycle.
These concepts are nothing new. What might come as a surprise is the ability for malware to jump across multiple platforms.
Kaspersky researchers discovered a new type of malware on Google Play, in the appstore for Android phones. This clever bug masquerades as a cleaner application meant to free space and increase the phone’s efficiency.
In the foreground, the application performs its job. In the background, however, it downloads three files (autorun.inf, folder.ico and svchosts.exe) to the root of the SD card. Then, it waits.
While it waits, the bot can, among other things, send and receive SMS messages, enable Wi-Fi, gather information about the device and upload the SD card’s entire contents. Victor Chebyshev, a Kaspersky lab expert, said, “This is the first time we have seen such an extensive feature set in one mobile application.”
Here’s the kicker: The files downloaded to the SD card activate once the phone is plugged into a PC. Then the malware leaks into the computer’s operating system and dinks around in the background, monitoring your computer’s audio input and periodically sending data back to the attacker.
This isn’t the most malicious malware for your computer, but the simple fact that malware can move from a phone to a computer is evolutionary.
Anything electronic can get a virus — even your toaster. Though, there’s not a true market for toaster trojans to burn your toast to a crisp.
If you’re smiling right now because you have an iPhone, don’t get too cocky. In July of 2012, Kaspersky reported a malicious application, “Find and Call,” in both the Apple App Store and Google Play. It doesn’t have the same capability the cleaner application does to move across different platforms. With this new advancement in malware, however, we expect multi-platform malware isn’t too far off.
There is no absolute way to guard against malware. Antivirus software for phones won’t stop or recognize everything, but it’s better than not having any protection. Regardless, it’s up to the user to recognize when the phone starts to act suspiciously:
• If the phone restarts frequently
• If the phone operates slower than usual
• If the phone stops obeying commands or locks up frequently
• If applications become inaccessible
• If some applications refuse to work properly
• If random icons appear
• If installed antivirus is disabled or will not start
• If new antivirus cannot be installed or will not open
• If the battery life decreases due to malicious operations taking up its juice
It’s also important to keep an eye on your computer. If you have a laptop and suspect it is running suspiciously, the Oregon State Computer Helpdesk, located in the Valley Library, can take a look for free.
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