Android is one of the fastest growing platforms in the world. In the second quarter of this year there were more than 300 million active Android devices. The increase is almost 900,000 of new devices per day and still rising. These days Android occupies more than 60% of the mobile devices market! By the way there is around 300,000 newborn children a day all around the world, and this number constantly decreases.
Hand in hand with this trend goes the rise of applications and viruses for this platform. In the past week we noticed one of them that was especially tricky. At first look, it’s trying to act like a regular Google Play application, but that’s just an illusion. It is a fake application which not only downloads other fraudulent application, but it is also able to send premium text messages without user’s knowledge
After the installation it replaces the original Google Play from the menu and just waits for a first start from the user.
Immediately after the first start you are asked to update the program and there your troubles continue “Critical update, install new version, click the continue”.
After this step follows another nasty download from this link shows up:
After the installation of second aplication, your phone turns into a money sucking machine. Without your knowledge it starts sending premium messages on paid numbers. Luckily we caught this threat and Avast! detects both samples as Android:OpFake-BV.
This file is easily accessible from more than thirty malware pages, which are made to resemble various markets and download pages! But no worries Avast! users are protected even if you accidentally visit these pages.
Last week we told you in the avast! blog about the nasty attack against Android smartphones which could lock the SIM cards or completely wipe all of the data and reset to factory settings. We are pleased to confirm that the newest update of avast! Free Mobile Security protects against USSD attacks, without having to install additional tools.
“The benefit of our solution is that we do not require the user to install an additional tool, as the newest update of avast! Mobile Security already contains the protection,” said Reinhold Holzner, Managing Director of AVAST Software Austria. “All you need to do is to accept the program update on your smartphone.”
Avast! Free Mobile Security is a full-featured anti-theft and anti-malware app for Android smartphones and devices. With special “stealth” and remote-access features, including lock, wipe and siren, as well as an abundance of remote text commands, smartphone users are protected against the loss or misuse of their device.
Avast! Free Mobile Security is completely free and available through Google play. Protect your devices now, and please tell a friend about it too.
Mobile malware is becoming both more prevalent and more pernicious. Among the 160m+ avast! users today, many of you also turn to avast! Mobile Security to protect your Android device (over 10M+ downloads on Google Play Store…thank you Avast Community!).
But we also see that the awareness and level of concern over mobile malware among the general population is quite low, especially compared to awareness and concern levels of PC malware. This makes sense. We don’t see large-scale virus outbreaks on mobile devices like we’ve seen on PCs, and we don’t see our app mobile OS vendors release endless streams of security patches alongside dire warnings for users who fail to update their programs. Instead, mobile malware is more likely to use your phone for sending premium SMS messages or steal some personal data than “infect” your device.
Without seeing mobile malware outbreaks on a regular basis firsthand, or hearing about them on the news, it’s only natural that other security issues seems more real to people. When we do come across news reports about mobile device concerns, it is more likely to be about data privacy and location tracking than about malicious apps. And everyone has either lost a phone or know someone close to them who has, and so understands the disruption that this causes. Many of you also have young children with cellphones and you may worry about the texts they’re receiving and what information they be divulging on social networks via their phones.
What this means is that mobile security in the broader sense is a lot more than antimalware. There are a range of issues and concerns to address, and range of protection mechanisms we could apply. We provide many of them today through our avast! Mobile Security solutions. But we also know that there is plenty of room for us to grow here as well, and that we must expand in order to both keep and build upon those 10M+ people who trust us to protect their mobile devices.
What do you see as the single most important safeguard you could have on your mobile devices? Take our Facebook poll and see what other avast! followers have to say.
Last week, Amazon announced its new Kindle line up. There’s a lot being said about the red-hot competition between the Kindle Fire, the iPad, Google’s Nexus tablet, and Microsoft’s Surface tablet. But what drew my attention most of all was Amazon’s announcement about greater parental controls. The new Kindle Fire tablets will include an app called Kindle FreeTime for enhanced parental controls.
Parental controls on the Kindle took a big step forward this past May with the 6.3.1 release, adding the ability to password protect purchases and disable access to specific content. Amazon’s Kindle FreeTime app goes further, allowing parents to set time limits based on the type of content their children are viewing, such as games or videos. It will also support setting different policies for different children.
The first of these devices is not available until Sept 14. Judging from the commentary on the Web, there’s a lot of interest in these features, but at this stage there are also a lot more questions than answers.
- Will the Kindle FreeTime app be available for v1 Kindle Fire tablets? That’s unclear.
- Will it support time-of-day restrictions, such as “no games after 8pm”, as well as total activity time? The answer seems to be No.
- What about filtering by age-appropriateness of content, not just by content type? There’s no indication Amazon will have this.
- Will the time controls also cover books, for those parents whose kids read too much or too late into the night? No. Apparently Jeff Bezos thinks that there’s never too much of a good thing when it comes to reading, even if it’s at the expense of homework or a good night’s sleep.
- What about parental controls for the “classic” Kindle readers? Sorry, you’re out of luck. Go buy a new Kindle Fire…or put it on your Amazon Wish List
As a parent of a 12-year old girl, one who buys too many Kindle books in general and who, lamentably, has begun to gravitate towards literary content more appropriate to a 16 year old, I find Amazon is not providing me with the controls and oversight I would like. But for my 10 year old boy who is content spending his entire day hunting zombies, Kindle FreeTime is completely sufficient.
What are your feelings about parental controls for Kindles and other tablets? What works for you? Have you found any good ways to limit or monitor your child’s activities? What are your wishes or frustrations with the devices as a parent?
Eight months after the wildly popular release of avast! Free Mobile Security, we are pleased to launch avast! Mobile Security 2.0 for Android smartphones and tablets. Adding to its already feature-rich anti-malware and anti-theft capabilities, the latest version of avast! Mobile Security 2.0 is sure to be the best free security solution for Android on the market. You can download it from the Google Play store.
“The free-but-full-featured Android antivirus and anti-theft app has become the highest-rated security solution on Google Play store with a score of 4.7 stars,” said Ondřej Vlček, CTO of AVAST Software. “We protect over 8 million active devices now and we are growing by 1 million active devices per month,” added Vlček.
avast! Mobile Security 2.0 uses the same award-winning antivirus engine as avast! Antivirus products for PC and Mac and is constantly updated with a mobile version of our virus database and latest virus definitions. avast! Mobile Security 2.0 seamlessly integrates the most stealthy anti-theft component in the marketplace: Immediately upon detecting a threat, avast! Anti-Theft jumps into action without alerting thieves to its presence.
avast! Mobile Security 2.0 includes the following new features:
- Remote functions through the web portal - allows you to remotely control your avast!-equipped device(s) from the web. The web portal offers full control of the device to remotely locate, lock, or wipe your lost phone, sound an alarm, SMS and call forwarding, and a lot more. Access the interface on my.avast.com.
- Improved tablet support – with the popularity of Android tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab, AVAST has worked to provide better compatibility with these devices, along with delivering a specific user interface tailored for the larger tablet devices.
- Network meter – review your data usage consumed by each app, individually for WiFi, 3G, or roaming networks.
- avast! Widget – from your device screen, the avast! Widget provides you a quick view of your overall security status, and the ability with one tap to access the main avast! Free Mobile Security interface, to run a malware scan of your installed apps, or bring up a dashboard of device health information such as CPU usage, memory usage, and SD Card free space.
- SiteCorrect™ – in a new feature unique to AVAST, our web protection will now detect common URL typing mistakes and can redirect you to the site you intended to visit.
- Custom name for Anti-Theft – this name is used to disguise the app from thieves’ eyes (e.g. label it “Dodo Gadget”)
- Real-time protection of apps – scan installed applications on their first execution
“We’ve now made the avast! Mobile Security product even better, and continue to keep the solution totally free,” commented Vince Steckler, CEO of AVAST Software.
Got a brand new smartphone and want to be protected from all the dangerous malware that’s out there? So you go and get some Android antivirus software. But, what you don’t know is that you just got tricked. And, it’s going to cost you some money. Yes, even if you downloaded if for free.
The latest trend in Android malware is to hide behind something that seems to be legit. Guys at GFI Labs pointed that out, so let’s take a closer look behind the scenes and add some interesting info from the AVAST Virus Lab’s perspective. Imagine yourself as a virus maker. You create an app that will do something evil like steal or delete people’s texts (you’re a nice virus maker), or you want to milk the cow even more and you create an app that’s going to get you some money from the victim by making it silently send text messages to premium-rate phone numbers.
But, how do you spread your evil milking machine among Android users? Just take a look at the apps that are already popular and trusted, like Angry Birds, Opera Browser, or even better, an antivirus app! What can feel safer than installing antivirus on your phone, right? So you take your evil app and make it look, for example, like avast! Mobile Security or any other antivirus suite. Then you make it available for free download, easy to find, placed on a web page that is not guarded like the Play Store, Amazon App Store, or any other genuine Android market. Most of the people only download apps from these genuine stores, but there are always some of them that somehow get tricked or that are just unlucky and run into some fraudulent apps like the one I’m talking about.
Let’s take a closer look at one of the cases. Android:FakeInst-AB Read more…
How many times have you dropped your mobile phone? As much as I try to take good care of my phone, I can count at least 3 times that it has slipped out of my hand and landed with a sickening crunch on the pavement by my feet. Thankfully, my Nexus 1 (it’s ancient, I know) seems to handle the abuse, and except for some external bruises, it works fine. But that’s not always the case. One of our Facebook fans wrote this testimonial today on our wall.
I had an issue on the weekend with my phone and Avast has saved the day!!!
I had dropped my new Galaxy SII HD LTE and was unable to view or alter the phone due to a broken screen. My replacement is on the way but I wanted to ensure my phone was wiped and factory reset before I sent it back to Bell.
Without Avast Mobile on the phone this would have been impossible, so I would just like to say THANK YOU! One quick text and the phone was wiped and factory reset.
You have secured the integrity of my data and assisted when I needed it most. THANK YOU a Million times over.
An estimated 67,000 mobile phones are likely to be lost or stolen during the Olympics in London, according to research from security firm Venafi. With the influx of visitors to London starting this week, Venafi extrapolates that a total of 214.4 terabytes - the equivalent of 200 million books full of data - will be lost during the course of the 2012 Olympics.
The risk of losing data, much of it valuable and often-regulated business data, is tremendous. “There’s been an explosion of corporate data available to users from their mobile devices. This is a real danger and one that is often overlooked,” said Gregory Webb, Venafi Vice President of Marketing.
“People don’t consider or take action to protect the vast volumes of information they carry and have internet access to. With the ever-shrinking boundaries between work devices and work-enabled personal devices, lost or stolen smartphones and other mobile devices that fall into the wrong hands place companies and business data at tremendous risk.”
Even if you are not attending the Olympics, you can protect your mobile phone from theft by downloading avast! Free Mobile Security, our full-featured anti-theft and anti-malware app for Android smartphones. With special “stealth” and remote-access features, including lock, wipe and siren, as well as an abundance of remote text commands, smartphone users are protected against the loss or misuse of their device. Together with anti-malware features to keep online threats at bay, avast! Free Mobile Security is the most full-featured security app available.
Avast! Free Mobile Security is completely free. You can get your own avast! Free Mobile Security here.
The Android:FakeInst family of malware seems to be never ending story. Its creators have been trying to trick users into sending premium rate SMS messages for several months now. Just a few days ago, we discovered 25 more apps placed on alternative markets that are all based on very similar concepts as was the one in the story we wrote about before Christmas.
This time malicious Android applications are hosted on several domains:
All these sites were registered a week ago so it looks like they were supposed to serve as a malware hosting for the bad guys from the very beginning. Also if someone tries to access these sites from the browser, the visitor only receives a 404 error message which does not look like a legitimate site. Analyzing the trail the malware creators left for us, we’ve discovered a few sites they have used in order to attract users and all of them target Russian speaking people and look like an alternative markets. In reality, these sites exist for a short period of time and offers only fake downloaders. Read more…
Since you asked for avast! Free Mobile Security (for Android) and we gave it to you, we wanted to celebrate its launch with our Community. Thus, from December 22, 2011 to January 22, 2012 we offered a contest where you could win 10 Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones and 300 free avast! Internet Security licenses.
Our contest question was…
We asked you to predict how many users of avast! Free Mobile Security there will be by February 10, 2012, 12:00 CET.
Responses showed us…
Roughly 50,000 contest participants showed us that we should actually do it more often. So even if you weren’t lucky this time, make sure you won’t miss our next one!
Results are finally in…
As February 10 is here, we can finally tell you that, as of today, we have 2 168 960 users of avast! Free Mobile Security.
Winners to be announced…
In the next 10 days, we will announce the 10 winners of Samsung Galaxy Nexus phones. Our winner will find his or her name in this format on our Facebook banner: Martin F.. And we will contact the winner via email, to arrange prize delivery.
The next-closest 300 responses will receive (via email) free licenses of avast! Internet Security.
If you participated in our contest and your prediction was close to our final number above, be sure to follow our Facebook page and check your email regularly!