How to Avoid Mobile Scams

mobile scams

 

Back in 2016, mobile device usage overtook fixed computing internet usage, so it’s hardly surprising that smartphone and mobile devices are a huge target for cyber villains.

According to a recent article in BullGuard, recently:

  • More than 500 Android mobile apps were removed from Google Play after it was discovered that a software development kit (SDK) embedded in the apps could be leveraged to install spyware on devices
  • The SDK was developed by a Chinese company and may have been used to install malware

To illustrate the scale of the problem further:

  • Last year, in a two month period, malware known as CopyCat infected 14 million devices around the world and rooted (i.e. gained root access to your device) more than half of them, about eight million devices
  • The malware spread via popular apps, which were repackaged with CopyCat and available for download on third-party app stores
  • It installed a component to the device’s system directory and targeted Android core process that launches apps, basically giving attackers admin privileges

When you get your phone out of the box, you can only alter what the manufacturer allows you to. Gaining root access means you can modify the device’s software on the deepest level, giving hackers remote control over your device.

Scary stuff.

How to beat the scammers

The best way you can protect yourself is by using mobile security. There are lots out there, but here at MPM IT we recommend BullGuard’s free Mobile Security.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Protect Your Android Device

Android security

Usually, when you think about smartphones you think iPhone. Well, it come as a bit of a shock to hear that isn’t the only smartphone that’s available – there are Android ones too.

Almost every article about protecting smartphones is aimed at Apple users, well we’re about to change all that. You see, Android devices are actually more popular than their fruity counterpart (Yay!) and, due to their open operating systems, far more vulnerable to hacking and malware (boo).

So, to help you keep your information, files and photos safe here’s a quick round up of things to look out for so you can keep your Android phone (and its contents) safe from attackers.

Ready?

The Con

The most successful hacks are those that dupe you into entering your password and email address. Usually they come in the shape of a pop-up or false login screen. Your information is then get to a bot that attempts to log in to anything and everything on your behalf.

Sneaky.

The bad news is there’s no third-party way of avoiding this, so all we can recommend you do is be alert.

App installation from unknown sources

Your Android phone allows you to install apps that don’t come from the Google Play Store. This can be useful, but it can also be a curse. Once you’ve enabled your phone to install one from an ‘unknown source’, very few apps ask tell you to go back and disable it once the app is installed, leaving your phone vulnerable. So take care when installing ‘off piste’.

Malware apps

Google has worked hard to set up user testing areas for companies that want to beta test new features. As a result, should you decide to go ‘off piste’ and install apps outside of the Google Play Store, make sure you’re in no doubt that the app is safe.

These apps could be tampered with, or the app could just be malware that is labelled as something else.

Antivirus software for Android

There’s no question that Android-based devices are rapidly becoming the target for a surging tide of malware and spyware, which is why protection is vital.

MPM IT recommends BullGuard Mobile Security for Android (other products are available) because it delivers comprehensive protection so your photos and other data are always protected.

A range of features means that it’s always up to data so infections are halted, including unwanted apps such as adware. It also scans new apps for malicious code that may be ‘hiding’ in the app. Plus, a cloud-based AV engine doesn’t drain your battery while ensuring you always have the latest protection.

You can check the status of your phone with its full scan feature, which checks for possible infections, malware or unwanted apps such as adware. And it automatically scans apps as soon as they are installed on your device notifying you immediately of any malicious or suspicious apps.

Yes, it’s a faff, but we think it’s worth it for the peace of mind you’ll get that all your personal information is safe and sound.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Mobile Security – How Good Is It?

There’s a lot of talk about mobile malware, but very little of it has actually reached your handset mobile securitybecause smartphones have turned out to be far more resilient to threats than PCs and laptops.

Sounds great, but it doesn’t mean you can just sit back and relax.

Of course, makers of security software would like you to believe your device is vulnerable and many companies that allow you to bring your own device to work would rather you had some sort of protection. After all, a dodgy app spewing out text messages and running up a huge bill is one thing, but if it leaks company passwords, customer data etc., that’s something entirely different.

However, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology (working with the security firm Damballa) surveyed 2 networks with some 380m users and found evidence of malware infection in fewer than 3,500 phones – that’s just 1 in 108,000.

Why so few?

Well, mobile phone users are rarely ‘administrators’ so they unlikely to tinker with the settings of their device’s operating system. Plus, most users download apps from one of 2 official sites: Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store. Both are pretty well policed.

But for those tablets and mobiles used at work, the biggest danger comes not from malware, but from data leakage caused by employees losing their devices, meaning the greatest threat comes form the employees themselves.

The moral therefore is to ensure you only ever download apps to your mobile device from one of the office app stores and that you take care not to lose your phone, be wary of malicious emails and text messages and never pass on sensitive information.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Is Android’s Security Good Enough?

More and mbouncerore of us are moving into the cloud as it is often a convenient and cost effective solution for small businesses. Plus, with the growing popularity of smartphones, the number of people using apps for business (and personal use) is growing.

But how secure is our data when using apps?

That has been an issue for a while now. Apple have stringent controls over what apps make it to their store, so the issue of security isn’t, well an issue. But when it comes to Android, it’s an entirely different story because there are no pre-publication clearance controls.

Last year, PC Pro ran an article about Android security (or rather the lack of it) and mentioned an experiment run by Dan Wallach, an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Rice University, Houston. With is permission, his undergraduate security class listened in on the traffic to and from his Android smartphone.

Using Wireshark and Mallory, they quickly discovered that “ Google wasn’t encrypting traffic heading for Google Calendar (using the default Google Calendar app that came with the phone)” although it does go on to mention that Google is “planning on introducing encrypted traffic to Google Calendar on Android as part of an unspecified maintenance release in the future.”

Not only that but, “…while the professor had a Facebook account configured to specify fully encrypted traffic, the Android Facebook app ignored that and sent everything in the clear…especially…Facebook isn’t doing anything like OAuth signatures, so it may be possible to inject bogus posts as well…[plus]one of the requests that the class saw heading to the Facebook server was carrying a SQL statement, which doesn’t bode well.”

It would therefore appear that Android apps, even authorised ones, may not offer you the type of protection you would expect to receive.

Over to you

In light of the article mentioned above, what are your feelings about Android apps?

Have you had any bad experiences?

Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear what you have to say.

Finding Your Way Round the Android Market

android

Nope, we’re not about to tell you how to go all ‘Star Wars’ and create your own Androids to do your bidding for you.

The Androids in question are those little bits of magic that you find in the Android market for your Android-based mobile phone.

How to use the Android market

As with iPhone Apps, you can access the Android market in two ways: via the official web based browser store, or through your phone.

Let’s take a look at the online store first.

Through the browser-based store, you can download your chosen apps directly to your phone from your desktop PC. All you need to do is sign in to the store using your Google login.

The other method is via your phone. The easiest way is through the Market icon on your mobile (of course, your phone will have to be connected to the internet to do this).

Once in the store, it’s divided into apps, games and downloads. The first 2 are again divided into various categories, whilst the downloads section shows you the apps you already have and any updates.

Keeping your information safe

Our previous post ‘How Safe is the Data on Your Smartphone?’ looked at how you can keep your data safe from hackers.

One of the key messages was to ensure you only download official apps from dedicated app stores. But to remain ultra safe, invest in a mobile security product, such as Bullguard Mobile Security – it’s definitely better to be safe than sorry.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

How Safe is the Data on Your Smartphone?

mobile phoneIn today’s day and age, we all shred important documents to minimise the risk of fraudsters getting hold of our personal data. But what about your smartphone?

Think for a moment about what is stored on it – your emails, bank account information, social networks and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. This wealth of personal information could potentially be swiped by malware (malicious software) or by someone physically stealing your phone.

Bet that’s got you thinking.

But they’ve got safeguards – haven’t they?

Sure, the iPhone has a ‘sandbox’ configuration making the OS pretty secure, but advances in malware means you should never rest on your laurels thinking your phone’s manufacturer has got everything covered.

As for Android phones, they are more closely related to PCs to, potentially, are an easy target for hackers.

And let’s face it, regardless of what magic software your phone contains to fend off would-be hackers, if it gets stolen, it’s game over.

Keeping your smartphone safe

A lot of advice about staying save is common-sense, but it never hurts to reiterate it:

  • Only download official apps from reputable dedicated app stores
  • Always check the areas of your phone you’re allowing the app to have access to (e.g. access to sending SMS messages shouldn’t always be needed, and can be exploited to rack up huge bills using premium rate numbers)
  • Regularly update your smartphone’s OS
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions when you’re not using them

To stay extra safe,  you can also take the extra step of utilising a mobile security product such as Bullguard Mobile Security.

At the end of the day, keep your smartphone secure when out and about and be vigilant about what you download on to it. Remember, one phone can hold a lot of information about you – so make sure it stays safe.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Mobile Data – An IT Headache

A recent article in Microscope.co.uk, looked at the changing landscape of IT and the impact it is having on data security.

According to Dave Everitt, general manager EMEA at Absolute Software, the increasing use of personal devices (such as smartphones) in the workplace is dramatically changing the landscape for IT departments everywhere.

He uses the term ‘consumerisation’ of IT to describe the increasing use of smartphones by social media savvy employees and how companies must devise ways of managing and securing company data held on those devices, without using ‘big brother’ tactics.

Today, more and more employees are taking their own devices into work and using them to store company data on them. If an employee synchs their company email with their personal smartphone, who is responsible if that phone is stolen and the data lost?

There could be trouble ahead…

Companies will be forced to put in place procedures to ensure their data integrity by the growing number of laws around data security.

If companies don’t comply, they could face hefty fines (not to mention damage to their reputation). The article goes on to say that ‘according to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data breach to an organisation in the UK is £1.7 million, while in Germany it is €2.41 million’.

Not only that, but with a public that’s more aware of the security of their personal information, and a more mobile workforce, IT departments are facing a monumental headache.

What can be done?

IT departments simply have to get to grips with situation and put procedures in place to prevent a disaster from happening. The article made several suggestions:

    • Think ahead – think of the worst possible scenario and work backwards to ensure you have the systems in place should a laptop, for example, ‘drift’ off the network
    • Make sure you know what devices you have and where they are
    • Install an asset management system that can keep track of multiple operating systems (such as Windows, Macs, smartphones etc.) via a single console
    • Work with HR and Legal to implement a clear policy on the use of consumer devices at work. Decide what is acceptable and legislate against what isn’t
    • Communicate – it’s IT’s job to talk to employees and to make sure everyone is aware of the reasons for having security policies in place. Also make sure they know what to do, should the worse happen, and a laptop goes missing

Technology has been responsible for many great things, but it can be a double edged sword. Greater mobility of data has compromised its safety and companies must work hard to ensure their customers’ data remains safe.

To read the full article, click here.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

You Do Have Mobile Security, Right?

Back in January, we brought your attention to an article written by Dragon’s Dens’ very own James Caan about the importance of mobile phone security.

Mobile security is essential because without it, your smartphone and all the data it contains are at risk – and that means so are you.clip_image002

There are several security solutions out there, but for this post we’ll concentrate on just one – BullGuard Mobile Security 10.

Smartphones are superb tools for today’s busy lives. All the information you need is at your finger tips. Whether you use it for social media, shopping online, or doing your banking its openness to the internet means there’s always a door open to malware and hackers, leaving your passwords and personal data vulnerable to attack.

But it’s not just about stealing your personal data and potentially setting your phone to make calls or send thousands of messages to rack up your bill – what about your children? The smartphone has made the internet even more accessible to children and at a time when you’re probably not there to supervise them – so how do you keep them and your data safe?

Take charge with BullGuard

BullGuard Mobile Security comes with anti-malware protection, parental control, antitheft and backup solutions to keep you, your data and your children safe.

With total remote control over your smartphone you can relax knowing you and your children can remain safe from online threats.

It’s available for use with Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile and offers:

  • An online account to remotely access your smartphone
  • A mobile security manager to locate (via GPS), lock/unlock, wipe your phone, and edit the parental control module
  • State-of-the-art antivirus and antispyware features that work silently in the background
  • SIM card protection
  • 24/7 support

For more information about the BullGuard product, contact your local authorised reseller and make sure you stay safe.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.