It has happened again. Malware has found its way into the Google Play Store. Google’s reputation has always been questionable in protecting their apps from malware. Suspicious adware and banking Trojans have repeatedly made their residence at the Google Play Store.
Now, it seems like state-sponsored spies are looking to have their fun with the Google Play Store. Some state-sponsored spies have included targeted hacking tools into the Play Store and from there onto an unsuspecting victim’s Android phone.
They have connected these attacks to the PhantomLance campaign, which is thought to be the work of a hacker group called OceanLotus or ATP32. OceanLotus is believed to be working with the Vietnamese government. Their primary goal is to target Vietnamese dissidents and bloggers. Google says it has taken action against the apps that were identified in this campaign.
This is not the first, nor is it the last, time that malware will find its way into the Google Play Store. Therefore, it’s essential that you take steps to protect your device from malware.
How to Protect Your Phone from Malware
Most people have gotten into the habit of protecting their computers from malware and viruses. It is second nature to them. Unfortunately, not everyone takes the same level of care as their smartphones.
This can be dangerous, especially when you consider the sensitive information that is stored and transmitted using a smartphone. There are many people who use their phones to trade in the financial market using an online trading platform. Basically, the bulk of their financial information is stored or transmitted using their phone. The following are five ways you can protect your phone from malware.
1. Use Reliable App Sources
The first thing you need to do is use a reliable app source. This means only downloading apps from trusted locations, such as the Apple Store and the Google Play Store. You would not want to download a financial app, such as banking, money transfer, or a stock trading app, from a link you get in an email or in social media. This is just asking for malware.
Most malware programs are looking for vulnerable Android users, so you need to be on guard. You need to download stock trading or financial apps from trusted sources in order to avoid any kind of scam, or malware.
2. Research about the app before downloading
In the case mentioned above, individuals were infected because they downloaded an app from a reputable apps source. This means that more than just where you get the app is involved. Look at who produced the app. Take the time to learn about the developer. Have they created other apps? What are professionals and users saying about the app in their reviews?
Pay special attention to bugs or deficiencies that are identified in the app. Before you download an app, read the description. Are there certain things about it that might raise a red flag?
Although it takes a little time, read the fine print before downloading a new app. Some people complain that the apps they have downloaded stole information from them. However, because they did not read the fine print, they willingly gave their private information to nefarious individuals.
Also, if an app requests setting up a profile where you get an email with a confirmation link, beware ‘cause it might be a phishing scam if it’s not coming from a trusted source – if it sounds malicious don’t click on it.
3. Set a Password
When nefarious individuals insert malware into apps, they have one of two goals. They either want to disrupt the operation of your device or want to gather your private and sensitive information. If you set a password, you are protecting your phone from outside sources.
It is true that a password is not necessarily malware protection, but it can protect you from spyware. It is another hoop for cybercriminals to jump through if they are trying to infiltrate your phone. You may be reluctant to use a password because it is a hassle, especially if you are checking your cell phone multiple times a day.
However, a password is your number one tool in protecting your personal information from being accessed by others without your permission.
4. Install Malware Protection
In the same way, you can put virus protection on your computer, you can include this type of software on your phone. As more people are moving away from using computers toward using a smartphone, you can only expect cell malware to grow. This underscores the importance of having protection on your smartphone.
There are several trusted apps that fill the gaps and provide comprehensive protection from malware attacks. Because the frequency of virus attacks is on the rise, the chances of your smartphone being infected are higher than ever. It behooves you to protect your phone.
5. Update Your Operating System
Updating your operating system as soon as a new one becomes available can seem like a tedious task that can be put off for later. However, the frustration that you may face if malware penetrates your defenses because you have an outdated operating system is way more than the frustration you might face spending a few minutes updating the operating system on your phone.
System developers are trying to keep ahead of malware, and they are attempting to give you the protection you need. However, if you don’t keep your operating system up to date, you cannot avail yourself of this protection. Frequently updating your operating system not only provides protection against malware, but it also keeps your phone working its best.
Why It Is a Challenge for Google to Keep Play Store Safe
Over 250 million downloads are made every day at the Google Play Store. This makes the Google Play Store a ripe target for nefarious individuals. Threat actors are intelligent computer savvy individuals.
Google takes steps to protect its store, but the nefarious individuals react and respond. They may attack the Google Play Store with several methods simultaneously. Google’s defenses must stand up against all the attacks. The attackers only need one of their methods to be successful to wreak havoc.
Google should be commended for its efforts to keep its house in order. Google has built a reputation for responding quickly and communicating frequently. Google is battling the Joker malware that threatens the devices of countless individuals. And there are likely more threats on the horizon. Therefore, the impetus must lie with the consumer to protect their devices.