Mobile
11/29/2013
08:06 AM

Android Security: 8 Signs Hackers Own Your Smartphone

Security experts share tips on how to tell if attackers are in control of your Android smartphone.
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Image (derived) courtesy of Flickr user espensorvik. 


Odd charges on cellphone statements 

Not all malware will linger after infecting devices, especially if it has a financial bent. 'Some of the malware is opportunistic, and the installer is basically a wrapper for free Angry Birds,' said Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure Labs, via email. 'The installer has you submit to a EULA that says you will subscribe to an SMS subscription, then it installs the free version of Angry Birds that you can download for free.'  

What users may end up with, of course, is not just the free version of Angry Birds, but also a financial hit in the form of SMS messages sent to premium numbers and billed to their account. These SMS scams are much more prevalent in China and Eastern Europe than in the United States, where Android users are more likely to encounter Trojan apps or fraud attempts based on social engineering, rather than texts to premium SMS numbers.  

If consumers spot strange charges, their best strategy is to give their operator a call and say, 'Can you please tell me what these charges are?'' said Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at mobile security firm Lookout, speaking by phone. Likewise, don't be afraid to call your bank if you think you may have been exposed to a banking Trojan.
Image (derived) courtesy of Flickr user espensorvik.

Odd charges on cellphone statements
Not all malware will linger after infecting devices, especially if it has a financial bent. "Some of the malware is opportunistic, and the installer is basically a wrapper for free Angry Birds," said Sean Sullivan, security advisor at F-Secure Labs, via email. "The installer has you submit to a EULA that says you will subscribe to an SMS subscription, then it installs the free version of Angry Birds that you can download for free."

What users may end up with, of course, is not just the free version of Angry Birds, but also a financial hit in the form of SMS messages sent to premium numbers and billed to their account. These SMS scams are much more prevalent in China and Eastern Europe than in the United States, where Android users are more likely to encounter Trojan apps or fraud attempts based on social engineering, rather than texts to premium SMS numbers.

If consumers spot strange charges, their best strategy is to give their operator a call and say, 'Can you please tell me what these charges are?'" said Marc Rogers, principal security researcher at mobile security firm Lookout, speaking by phone. Likewise, don't be afraid to call your bank if you think you may have been exposed to a banking Trojan.

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RaimeV632
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RaimeV632,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/14/2016 | 12:08:34 PM
Boyfriends phone hack
Ok so my boyfriend had his phone hacked I'm pretty sure due to him receiving notifications on lock screen but then nothing being there and his phone being really really slow. And battery low all the time. But not only that when he was pushing a button in chrome it copied something and he pasted into a file or something and his phone started copying when hurting a button. When he would paste it random things would appear. He is thinking that everything that was pasted was pics and message clips off his phone. But I am thinking these items were never from his phone. Would you know and what does he do about this hack?
AnthonyT219
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AnthonyT219,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2016 | 6:12:08 PM
pc malware and trojans
Hi everyone, My PC has gotten malware and trojans on it that my virus software is not detecting and wiping out, Is there software on the market that may be able to find and wipe it off my PC? Oh and is Titanium backup for pc's too?
AnthonyT219
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AnthonyT219,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2016 | 6:03:30 PM
Re: The Benefits of Rooting-
Hi is Titanium Backup for pc's too? Cause my pc with Windows 10 has gotten malware and probably trojans that none of my software is finding, and i need to back up certain files before having a computer tech clean up my pc and reinstall Windows 10, unless there is great software i can buy to find thealware and trojans and wipe them off my pc, please help.
AnthonyT219
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AnthonyT219,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/1/2016 | 5:46:59 PM
Re: secure android mobiles
Lookout is also a pretty good app too, you can even log onto it from a pc or anyother web capable device to know where your phone is if it gets stolen, and i also suggest locking the screen with either a passcode or the pattern lock.
AliciaT583
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AliciaT583,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/29/2016 | 3:28:55 PM
no longer in control of my own phone
Your article is so my situation atm. My partner is a victim of fraud,(online purchase) leaving e-bay (the add site) & dealing with seller via e-mail, opened the porthole, 1of the 1st emails flashed an R rated pic of my partner of course we couldn't find it. Worried we used mine. I then installed an app from Google play, to help sort my "phone's issues" im not a tech savvy person. From then on it got worse. My phone became rooted, csc files were modified & my phone controlled by? I have that green man, he controls all my apps wifi email F/B. So factory reset 4 me. It took me 2yrs to "get with the times" & enjoy my Samsung & not hate technology, I have all information written down on good old paper. I will get re-connect my smartphone life but I will be smarter in my protection. This incident has devastated me, I want to track this down & stop it. I am posting my story everywere!!
LTCassity
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LTCassity,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/19/2016 | 2:56:49 PM
Re: Good Advice from Mathew J. Schwartz
I have a android phone and have a hacker which has control of my fb and email accounts. every time I make a new account in either place they change the pasword so I cannot re-enter. I believe that they have my IP address and I am getting a new phone which I hope helps. any good advice guys.
LiveMsic
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LiveMsic,
User Rank: Apprentice
5/14/2015 | 7:50:33 PM
Re: Good Advice from Mathew J. Schwartz
The answer is, of course it is.
DennisC_VA
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DennisC_VA,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2015 | 5:03:25 PM
Good Advice from Mathew J. Schwartz
Beyond my earlier comment directed towards the other commenter and their issue involving text messages, I enjoyed reading this article and found Mathew's advice really solid.  After working in various support capacities for the past nineteen years, I have seen both "average" users with normal issues and "extreme" users with 'You did what?!?' issues.  If we can compare our Smartphones to our cars for a moment, the idea "hacking" the engine control module on a car sounds pretty intimidating to most people - sure, MAYBE it is possible to improve the mileage a little, but what is being risked in the process?  Also, if you return to the dealer or even a neighborhood auto mechanic with a car that has been "modified", do not be surprised when they refuse to work on it!  Similarly, is the cellphone carrier going to adopt a similar position IF something does not go smoothly with an altered Smartphone device?  There is risk and liability in everything we do, whether with our computers, Smartphones, other Internet-capable devices or even our cars; so it is really worth considering the true risks of having "fun" with Rooting a device versus the ultimate cost down the road.
DennisC_VA
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DennisC_VA,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/9/2015 | 4:24:54 PM
Re: Specific texts were deleted from my phone.
It may be impossible to know for certain whether the phone's Operating System or Messaging capability has been compromised, and the longer you wait the more "damage" may be done.  If you think the phone is behaving in a manner inconsistent with its original 'Out-of-the-Box' (fresh from the store) behavior, I recommend performing the Factory Reset.  Only the user themselves can determine whether the value of past incriminating "evidence" is worth retaining versus the potential for future harm being done by an unauthorized person again using a compromised device.  This is pretty new territory for users of these devices and I suspect there are issues which may quickly exceed the major carriers' Technical Support services abilities.  Yes, they can take a report of suspicious behavor BY the device, but ultimately they are likely to instruct on performing the Factory Reset as a solution; it is simply the most effective way to deal with unknowns.  **NOTE: To preserve legally incriminating data on a Smartphone device, I think it would have to be powered off, have the battery removed and even go so far as to place it in a electromagnetically shielded pouch IF there is really "bad" stuff on it. **
GerardoF416
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GerardoF416,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2015 | 2:51:10 PM
I ben hack
I, ben hack I,m 100% I,no my phone is goin crazy whit my. Maseges voiz recordin I, do not what To do can enibati heelp
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