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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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
Ungerone
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Ungerone,
User Rank: Apprentice
1/28/2015 | 10:19:18 PM
Specific texts were deleted from my phone.
A friend former friend of mine had sent me several sms texts that were very self incriminating.  Not  all texts have been deleted just specific ones.  From what I have read this is not possible unless you have physical access to the phone and that is just not possible.  The only thing wierd that has happened recently was an anonymous text that I received with no text in it.  When I tried to delete it it would not delete and it was after that that I noticed that the texts had been deleted. I have tried to use a few apps and pc based programs that are able to recover deleted texts from phones but non of them work as the Galaxy Mega that I have cannot be rooted.  So my question is, is it possible to delete texts that you have sent to another phone from your phone without ever having physical control of it and since texts seem to be recoverable from a sim card is it possible that the anonymous text that I received installed something that allowed the person to pick the texts that they wanted to delete but only those texts. if any of this is possible is there a way for me to scan my phone or sim card to find out if I have been hacked?  I know that I can do a factory reset on the phones to delete anything that may have been installed but I would prefer to find out what was done to allow this.  Not to mention if the sim card has been hacked to allow this I dont want it to start all over again even after a factory reset.  Any help from out there would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thank you for your time.

Ungerone
deviclock
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deviclock,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/24/2014 | 9:16:44 AM
Re: More security tips for the Smartphones.
 Android security is vulnerable and is easily hacked by users of the Smartphone or IT specialists. Other apps have to be downloaded to protect your data against hacking. 

my device lock
FreeTipss
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FreeTipss,
User Rank: Apprentice
8/6/2014 | 7:44:11 PM
More security tips for the Smartphones.
That's cool. You might want to check these 10 important Smartphone security Tips too.

http://freetipss.com/smartphone-security-tips-10-useful-tips/
RoopaL731
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RoopaL731,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2014 | 6:40:19 AM
secure android mobiles
this app http://hangoverstudios.com/mobileantitheft/  which helps you find lost phone's location and picture of thief.
mrhobbes
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mrhobbes,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/9/2014 | 9:21:59 AM
Android Security needs to be increased
Nice article on Android Security, Mathew, Great work.

 

Android is more prone to malware impacts due to Google's loose developer agreement, you can check it on my blog post regarding the same topic http://goo.gl/LyLHse you can of course, give your opinion regarding the same.  If Google increases there security measure, then surely a lot of malware and PAU's can be avoided.
anon9673719294
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anon9673719294,
User Rank: Apprentice
6/26/2014 | 2:37:51 AM
Interesting
I recently found a useful app in Amazon that not required any unnecessary permissions and store all your passwords - MyPasswords
pnally
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pnally,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/12/2013 | 11:52:21 AM
I'm only seeing 7 "signs"
I'm only seeing 7 "signs" listed in the article...  Was it hacked?  ;)
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