It is a known fact that malware threats over smartphones, especially on Android, are on the rise and have reached a large number of victims all around the world. To highlight this threat, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) issued a warning about the growing hazards of mobile malware and has also provided some crucial tips to maintain smartphone security.
The IC3 is a multi-agency cybercrime unit based in the United States and the FBI has a major role to play in its hierarchy. It is a telling sign that the FBI has released an independent warning about mobile malware and it serves as another timely reminder about the various precautions to be taken to prevent a major infection on a smartphone.
The two malwares highlighted by the IC3 warning
The warning starts off with the mention of two new strains of mobile malware that have been discovered by researchers. These are known as Loozfon and FinFisher and they both enter vulnerable devices through bogus email links or text messages.
Loozfon sends emails that contain links which promise monetary rewards to people who forward the email. However, once the link is clicked, the malware unpacks itself on the device and infects it. It then proceeds to steal information and data from the device. FinFisher also spreads in a similar manner but it monitors device activity once it has been installed. It can also grant remote access for the device to an attacker. Interestingly, this malware is not just a threat for the Android platform. It also affects other platforms like iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry and Windows Mobile. The source of these attacks is still unknown.
Crucial security tips for smartphone users
The IC3 warning follows this up with a list of security precautions that users must take to avoid all forms of mobile malware. The various steps mentioned here have been highlighted by us in the past and interested readers can explore our Android related posts to gather more information. Some of the basic precautions that we constantly recommend are as follows:
- Turn OFF unwanted features to minimize device vulnerability
- Carefully analyze app reviews and publishers before installation
- Study the permissions required by apps before installation
- Use passwords and security locks to access the device and various menus
- Avoid connecting to unknown wireless networks in new locations
- Stay aware of apps that tap and require geo-location data
- Regularly update the OS and other security software on the device
- Utilize a strong mobile phone security software like Quick Heal Mobile Security
The IC3’s warning simply highlights the need for dedicated mobile malware solutions for smartphones. Increased awareness about such issues will help protect a large number of people and will also allow them to take the necessary preventive measures.