The proliferation of malware on Android is a reality that many users are not aware of, especially the so-called ransomware associated with traditional phishing or identity theft. It is a process by which the attacker infects the information stored in the affected device and the encript to, preventing the access of the owner and requesting an economic compensation as a rescue to be able to recover it. To do this, you try to trick the user by posing as a known entity or service and thus obtain access credentials illegally. Although this type of malicious software has always been linked to desktops, the fact is that mobile devices are also likely to be affected.
In a mobile device, the main way by which we can see ourselves infected is by downloading a fraudulent application without our consent or having been deceived by some type of phishing web system, and the way of the arrival of these applications is usually through instant messaging services like WhatsApp. Therefore, it is essential to have tools capable of analyzing the documents received before installation and to have proof that the apps used in our smartphone are reliable. Here are a few ways to protecting your devices from malicious software.
Analyze your apps with Virustotal
The Virustotal service, owned by Google, offers a service through which we can analyze any application through more than 50 antivirus programs and receive a detailed report with the results. In addition to its web version, it has a totally free application that, once installed on our smartphone, will analyze all the apps that we have installed and will notify us of those that you consider suspicious. Likewise, we will send files and even analyze URLs. Even so, it should be noted that this application does not offer protection in real time, so its use is a complement to common sense and other applications that do provide some shielding system.
Download from reliable sources
Precisely, we use Virustotal to analyze all the files it stores, filtering them in case it is detected as malicious by any of the associated antiviruses. In addition, the human component in the process helps to minimize the possible entry of malware into the platform.
Monitor the permissions used by each app
Another of the fields to take into account when checking how reliable an app is is to check the permissions required for its proper functioning. It does not make much sense, for example, that a text editor has access to our contact book; or that a supposed game of puzzles makes use of the camera. Although the most modern versions of the Android operating system notify us with a pop-up window when a “sensitive” permission is required, users with outdated terminals will need an external tool to review it. Exodus Privacy allows you to review the installed apps and check if they use permissions that a priori should not, thus detecting if we are using a fraudulent version of the software in question. In addition, it will analyze the associated trackers, so we can find out where the information collected by the app is sent to.
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Phishing through instant messaging
It has been noted that infection through malicious applications is the main cause of problems. And where do those apps come from? Mainly of links received through WhatsApp and other chat services where virality and immediacy play in favor of malware. There are many scams through WhatsApp whose main weapon is the use of phishing to deceive unsuspecting users. This is, offer websites that are made to pass through official services and that offer us succulent promotions, whether they are skins to personalize WhatsApp itself or discounts on services such as Netflix. In addition, these fraudulent websites are already responsible for the infected to share their contacts the malicious URL, so in most cases, the contact that sent us this link is not even aware of having done so.
Use common sense
No marketplace, including the Google Play Store itself, is saved from being invaded by fraudulent applications, and antivirus itself is useless on the Android platform. In the end, the main firewall to prevent infection is ourselves and our ability to discern the reliability of the pages we visit and the applications we download. One must be cautious, contrast with sources of reliable information and, in case of doubt, never click on a link or “Accept” button.
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