For some time now, researchers in the field of technology security have stressed that there is a measurable rise in malware for mobile devices. This, of course, raises red flags in the minds of the consumers and they turn to their app store looking for antimalware. Sadly, even that type of protection can be risky. Fake antimalware is becoming more common, but there are ways to identify the sneaky apps.
In April, an Android app called Virus Shield turned out to be the very malware it was touted as protection against. The app was downloaded more than 10,000 times and even made the “top paid” list. Earlier this week, Kaspersky, the official anti-virus store of the USA, declared that two fake applications, using the trusted Kaspersky name, were available for download in both the Windows Phone and Google Play app stores. With the “success” of Virus Shield, it is no surprise that other cyber criminals felt the need to create some knock-offs.
Roman Unuchek, Kaspersky Lab’s senior malware analyst, said that we are now seeing the pattern by which one scam’s success gives rise to any number of clones. It is almost too easy for them to make some fast cash of off users who are not paying enough attention to what they are downloading on to their devices. He goes to say that, as more of these fake applications appear, the mechanisms in place for security at official app stores are going to have a hard time coping and keeping up.
Consumers are asking what they can do to protect themselves and their devices from the scourges of malware and false antimalware. One thing to keep in mind is that the shadier apps tend to gravitate toward unaffiliated app sites. Particularly in the case of Android apps, the third-party stores are safer markets for them to sell their wares. However, there are some bolder types who have infiltrated official app stores and been able to get away with this. Since no distribution site is 100 percent safe, Kaspersky has some valuable advice to help guide consumers. This will require some extra attention and finger-work, but the end results will be worth it. Identifying fake antimalware requires some critical thinking.
Always scrutinize the app page. Ask questions like, does it look official, are the images of a high quality resolution, are thorough details about the product provided and are the company and product names correct. Also, look for obvious typos and poor usage of white space.
It can be helpful to look at the company’s website. There should be a section just for making purchases. Check to see if there is contact information and whether it is easy to identify who is responsible for the website’s content.
If a purchase is made and later it is discovered that it was a fake app, it is important to get in touch with the app store right away. Explain the situation and ask for a refund.
Common sense and caution are keys to not becoming a victim of fraud. It may also be helpful to know that Android devices are far more vulnerable than are iOS devices. Until the official app stores can come up with ways to find them before they are offered as product, it is up to the consumer to identify antimalware on their own.
by Stacy Lamy