August 15, 2013
Android currently powers 59% of Smartphones, tablets, and laptops. More than 718,000 malicious apps have been detected on the Android operating system, mainly in the form of copies of popular apps such as Instagram and Angry Birds.
Once a malicious app is downloaded, cyber-criminals can steal passwords and other personal information. They can also subscribe the device to premium SMS messaging services without the owner’s knowledge — the premium messaging resulting in high phone bill charges and profit for the attacker.
To avoid imitation apps stay away from third-party app stores. Stick to Google Play! Additionally, always read an app’s reviews before downloading, and examine the terms and permissions thoroughly. For example, a game shouldn’t request permission to send a text. Here are two more ways to protect yourself from personal data theft and an inflated phone bill:
- Use anti-virus software such as Symantec, a free Mobile security apps available at Google Play
- Upgrade to Android 4.2, which notifies you if an app attempts to send an SMS message to a premium number
UF policy states that devices connecting to UF networks or accessing and storing UF data must be encrypted and password protected. A step-by-step process on how to encrypt your Android is available online, along with additional information on why it is important to encrypt personal and university data.