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Protecting Android users from malicious apps

A news story on Mobile Entertainment today has revealed that 99 per cent of mobile malware attacks are aimed at the Android platform. It’s no surprise to see Google’s open source OS an easier target for malware violations but what is also surprising is the lack of concern from Android users: 40 per cent of smartphone and 42 percent of tablets users fail to take action to prevent attacks, according to research from Kaspersky Lab.

Mobile malware comes in many guises including malicious apps waiting for unsuspecting users to download them. And this strain of malware is growing at a rapid rate: last year, Kaspersky Lab discovered 35,000 malicious apps; in the first half of 2013 47,000 have already been detected.

These statistics are alarming for Android users but there are measures that can be taken to avoid being invaded by a nefarious app.  Firstly only download apps from official and trusted app markets such as Google Play.  Google has gone on record recently to say that its ‘defence layers’ are good enough to prevent malicious apps making a successful sting and the high-risk, virus-riddled apps tend to live on third-party app stores and originate from Russia and the Far East.

Next, take note of the permissions an app is asking for and that the features and functions it wants to access are relevant to the app. User’s don’t generally check these before downloading and it allows malicious apps to gain access to personal information that can also result in identify theft.

Always make sure you update your Android system software. Security features are constantly evolving as new viruses appear and these patches provide up-to-date protection. Lastly, users can always invest in a security app. With anti-virus organisations declaring malware is a bigger problem than ever, downloading security software for extra reassurance can only help.

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