How secure is your Android device?

It’s not been a great day for Android owners.

Cyber security firm Check Point Security today revealed that up to 900 million Android devices possess a flaw that could give unscrupulous attackers full control of certain mobile phones and tablets. The flaw, dubbed QuadRooter, works by tricking a user into installing a malicious app, which in turn allows the hacker to access all data as well as the camera and microphone.

QuadRooter can be found in devices built using chipsets produced by mammoth Qualcomm, who have a 65% global share in the field. Needless to say, the flaw has therefore managed to hit some of the leading and best known Android manufacturers in the world including Samsung, Google, HTC, LG, Sony, OnePlus, and others. You can download the Check Point app from the official Google Play Store to discover if your device is affected here. 

There are, however, steps and measures you can follow to up your level of mobile security and to minimise the risk of attack, and we’re here to help. After quizzing our IT experts on the best practices of mobile security, plus following the recommended tips of the team who uncovered the vulnerability, here are 6 tips you can follow to keep you and your device as secure as possible:

  1. We’ve said it before and I’m certain we’ll say it again; UPDATE! These updates aren’t just so you can get the latest Facebook redesign; they’re also there to improve your security to keep you protected, so don’t skip ‘em!
  2. Always carefully examine any app installation requests and confirm they are legitimate before continuing. If you have any doubts, don’t go ahead with the install.
  3. Only install apps from the Google Play store unless you know exactly what you are doing. It is possible to download and install apps from a third party (.APK files), but this comes with its own risks that need to be understood before putting your data security on the line.
  4. If you do install apps from a third party for whatever reason, make sure to disable side-loading apps afterwards to ensure apps can’t be installed from anywhere other than the Play Store. This can be done by going to Settings > Security > Unknown Sources and making sure this box is unticked.
  5. Be very careful on open public Wi-Fi. Only use known, trusted Wi-Fi networks, and only use those you can be certain are provided by a trustworthy source. Remember some hackers create networks with minor spelling mistakes to catch out the less detail orientated amongst us. Be very careful, and it’s best to avoid accessing sensitive data such as banking all together on public Wi-Fi.
  6. Remember your device isn’t immune to viruses! Make sure you have an antivirus installed on your Android device; a number of options are available on the Play Store, both paid and free versions. No excuses!

It's time for consumers to face the facts; these attacks are happening on a daily basis, and if you're not staying protected they will happen to you eventually. It is extremely important to keep up to date on the latest technology news to make sure you’re informed, so fail to do so at your peril. Knowledge, as they say, is power, and it’s no use burying your head in the sand and hoping it doesn’t happen to you, especially as it was reported last month that 1 in 10 of us were victims of cyber-crime in the past year alone.

So make sure you’re staying on top of your mobile security. After all, you don’t want to discover your device has been compromised, especially now you have the knowledge to minimise an attack. It’s up to you.

 

Follow Exmos on Twitter for industry insights and news on information security, tech and IT

 

Posted by Jordan Maciver on Monday, August 8, 2016

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