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FBI Warns Public About Smartphone Malware Attacks

FBI Warns Public About Smartphone Malware Attacks
FBI Warns Public About Smartphone Malware Attacks

Michelle Lowry
KJRH Channel 2 News


TULSA – Smartphone malware attacks.  The Internet Crime Complaint Center says there is malware attacking operating systems for mobile devices.

Just two examples of this malware according to the FBI are Loozfon and FinFisher.

Information-stealing malware could come in as a work-from-home opportunity that promises big bucks for just sending out emails.

The malware steals contact information from the user’s address book and the infected device’s phone number.

Another can take over components of a mobile device meaning it can be remotely controlled and monitored. The malware can be transmitted to a smartphone when the user visits a specific web link or clicks on a message that appears to be a system update. This may come via text.

The most recent malware attacks targeted Android operating systems for mobile devices.

The FBI offers this information for all smartphone users to keep your phone and data safe:

When purchasing a smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.

Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user’s personal data in the case of loss or theft.

With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.

Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.

Passcode protect your mobile device. This is the first layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device. In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.

Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.

Be aware of applications that enable geo-location. The application will track the user’s location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can also be used by malicious actors, raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.

Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier.  This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used.  However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device . Anytime an application or service runs in “unrestricted” or “system” level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.

Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.

If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.

Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this, it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.

Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.

Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

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