Tackling Android Malware and Securing Your Android Device
Android malware is a big reality now; it’s increasingly becoming a part of our day to day existence.
With Android devices getting immensely popular, security threats to Android devices too are on the rise. Almost every week we get to hear of security incidents happening as regards the Android OS and security experts taking it as seriously as any other security issue.
Today Android devices are used not just on the individual level, they are part of the modern enterprise set-up as well. Employees in many corporates use their Android devices to connect to the corporate network and do work. A security threat to such devices is a threat to the whole enterprise network itself.
On the individual level, people today carry out all kinds of financial transactions, purchases etc on Android devices and hence hackers can get away with loads of sensitive data if they hack into such Android devices.
Thus, fighting Android malware is as important as fighting any other malware. Here are some basic tips as regards combating Android malware. We focus on how to secure your device once you realize it has been infected.
Once your device gets infected, stop using it!
If you realize that your Android device has been infected, the first thing that you must do is stop using the device. This is to ensure that the malware that has infected your system doesn’t steal sensitive data, like login data, card data etc. Some malware would also end up helping cyber criminals make money using your device. So the best way to stop this from happening and protecting your device and data would be to stop using it. Doing that would help prevent feeding the malware that has infected the device.
If needed, restart the device in Safe Mode
If you really need to use your infected device, it’s advisable to restart it only in Safe Mode. That helps you minimize effects of the attack. This can be done by holding down the power button on your device, which will get you a menu with options like “safe mode” and “emergency mode”. Choose “safe mode”, allow the phone to reboot. Please note that third-party apps won’t be operating while the phone is in “safe mode”; the malware would also be idle as long as you are in safe mode.
Find and identify the malware
The next big thing that you have to do is to find the malware. The malware that has sneaked into your device could have come in disguised as an app. Check the Apps Settings and find out if any apps have been recently installed or any apps seem unfamiliar. Such a one could be the culprit. Finding and identifying the malware is one of the most important things to be done; it’s not tough either, it can be accomplished with some effort.
After finding the malware, uninstall it
Once the malware has been identified, the next thing to be done is to take steps to uninstall it. First, the app that has the malware has to be shut down by using the ‘force close’ option. The next is to hit ‘Uninstall’ to get rid of the malicious app.
Anyway, when the malware has gained root access, it would have administrative privileges on the device and hence won’t be easy to uninstall. Then you’d first have to disable the malware’s administrative privileges and then uninstall it.
Once the malware is uninstalled, install Malware Protection
Once the malware is identified and removed, it’s always best to ensure you’re protected against future attacks. Though there is no 100% perfect solution, there are certain things that need to be done. Begin with installing malware protection. There are many antivirus applications for Android which can be installed and used. Similarly, ensure that the device that you are using is up to date and running the latest version of Android. Fix OS patches on time, update all software regularly and thus stay safe from security flaws and vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber criminals.
Kevin Jones951 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.