Android phones face growing malware threat

android logoAnytime I warn people about an email phishing scam containing a dangerous link, I envision a laptop or desktop computer, but guess what? We’re all walking around with little computers in our pockets and they are not immune to viruses and other malware.

I just came across a few articles talking about the growing thread of malware on Android phones. There are now a million malware theats out there that can impact your Android phone.

For example, there are emails going around designed to distribute “scareware”–software that tricks you into paying for other nonexistent threats. It can also intercept phone calls and messages. You get the scareware by following dangerous links that take you to infected websites.

You can also get Android malware by installing certain apps. Google purged some apps from its system after finding out they contained malware.

I just decided it was time to install some antivirus software on my phone. There are a number of free ones on the Google Play store that have good reviews, and some you can pay for. I chose the free version of Bitdefender. We’ll see how that goes.

This article contains some good advice to help keep your Android device safe.

In a nutshell:

  • Avoid suspicious websites–and especially don’t download anything from those sites.
  • Avoid third party app stores. Stick with the Google Play store as a source of new apps.
  • Pay attention to the app you intend to download, even from the Google Play store. Does it have good reviews? Does it only ask for necessary permissions? For example, a game shouldn’t need permission to send text messages.
  • Upgrade to the latest version of Android. Upgrades always include new protections. A recent update includes warnings if malware attempts to send a text message giving “permission” to some crooks for some premium service you didn’t order that will cost you money.
  • Install antivirus software.