Scam of the day – July 31, 2013 – Continuing dangers of the Android operating system

Android is the most prominent mobile operating system in the world and is used to power some of the most popular smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy.  Anything popular with many people is also popular with identity thieves who look for where the most potential victims are and then focus their efforts on exploiting vulnerabilities in popular software systems.  It is for this reason that I have continually warned you about the dangers you confront using Android products.  You may want to take a look at my Scams of the day archive pieces from April 1, 2013; January 1, 2013 and October 13, 2012 as well as check out my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age” which you can purchase from Amazon by clicking on the icon on the right hand side of the page.

Part of the problem with Android systems are that older smartphones are not equipped to operate the latest versions of the Android system which have incorporated numerous security updates.  A particular area of vulnerability in smartphones is malicious apps.  Malicious apps that you unwittingly download may include keystroke logging malware that can steal all of the information from your smartphone and use that information to make you a victim of identity theft.

TIPS

One thing you should do to protect yourself is to limit your downloading of apps to well known, legitimate vendors such as Google Play.  Google scans all apps before it adds them to the Google Play store to make sure that they are not infected with malware.  Also, as I have advised you in the past, you should also protect your smartphone with a strong password, install security software, encryption software and include anti malware such as the app Lookout, which for $29.99  per year has a feature that continually scans your other apps for viruses and malware as well as also permitting you to lock your phone remotely or eliminate all of your stored data if your smartphone is lost or stolen.

Scam of the day – April 1, 2013 – Android identity theft danger

A new strain of a malicious software that is unwittingly being downloaded by Android smart phone users is presenting a great risk of identity theft and even enabling the identity thieves to avoid authentication programs used for electronic money transfers on Android smartphones placing Android users in extreme danger.  A patch for this particular malware has still not been developed so your efforts must be focused on avoiding the malware on your own.  This new malware program is primarily being spread through a phony email that appears to come from the IRS.  It is important to remember that the IRS will never initiate communications with you by email so if you receive an email that purports to be from the IRS, you should delete it immediately.

TIPS

A good rule for keeping your computers, smart phones and other portable devices malware free is to never click on links or download anything that comes in an email unless you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate.  Even if you receive an email from a friend with a link or download, you should consider that your friend’s email may have been hacked and the email you received is not from your friend, but rather from an identity thief.  A good practice is to confirm with any friend who sends a link or download before you actually click on the link or download the file.  Even then you run the risk that your friend may unwittingly be passing on tainted malware without knowing it.  It is also important not to install apps on your Android device unless it is distributed through Google Play.  Getting apps elsewhere carries too much of a risk that the app may contain malware.  You should also make sure that the “Allow Unknown Sources” option in the security settings of your Android phone is disable so that only apps that come from Google Play can be installed on your phone.