McAfee Warns Against Mobile Malware

Internet and PC security firm McAfee has issued its top five tips for avoiding bad apps on smartphones. 

The company says the incidence of mobile malware is still relatively low, but that it is on the rise. Smartphones have eclipsed PCs in terms of sales, and McAfee says cybercriminals are shifting their focus accordingly.

Not surprisingly from McAfee, the fifth tip is to install antivirus software on your phone, such as the McAfee Mobile Security Suite. But the company has other ideas too. 

First, McAfee says that being aware that mobile malware exists is the first step toward protecting yourself and your data. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, etc. 

Secondly, McAfee recommends researching apps and their publishers thoroughly and check the ratings – better to install apps that are broadly used in the market or are recommended by your circle of friends and colleagues.

Next, the company says you should purchase from a well-known reputable app store market, such as the Android Market. “One way for Android users to avoid installation of non-market applications is to de-select the unknown sources option in the applications settings menu on their device. If the option is not listed, it means your mobile service provider has already done this for the user.”

Number four on the list is to check the apps list of permissions. “When you install an app, youll see a list of permissions for services that are granted access to the hardware and software components on your device, like contacts, camera and location,” says McAfee. “If something in the permissions screen doesnt look right, dont install that app. For example, a game or alarm clock app probably shouldnt need to access your contacts or have the ability to transmit that data from your device.”

“Maliciously modified apps have started to become more prevalent,” says Vincent Weafer, SVP at McAfee Labs. “Based on McAfee detections, weve seen approximately 200 malicious apps versus tens of thousands of good apps. However, with mobile devices becoming a targeted platform for malware, its becoming more common for cybercriminals to attempt to corrupt a legitimate app. The best advice for users is to be careful, protect the mobile device and the mobile apps that reside on the device.”