If you’re like most mobile users, you have dozens of applications installed on your smartphone. But are you sure that all of them are reliable? Do not be afraid to put that to the test and delete those apps that fail to meet the criteria you deserve. After all, malicious apps disguised as seemingly useful ones are a huge issue. In the worst-case scenario, they might cost you your financial well-being.
- Data-stealing Android malware
- How Do Such Apps Work?
- What Happens After Installation
- How Can You Protect Yourself?
- Use the Play Protect feature
- Check app security status before downloading it
- Enable two-factor authentication
- Don’t install untrusted bank wallets
- Use a strong password
- Use official bank apps
- Keep your phone updated
- Encrypt internet traffic
- Scan devices for malware
Data-stealing Android malware
A recent Wired article highlights the dangers of installing unknown apps. According to reports, malicious apps in question were downloaded over 300,000 times before their sinister nature was exposed. They posed as QR and PDF scanners or cryptocurrency wallets. However, all they were interested in was stealing victims’ bank account details.
Malicious applications pretending to be legitimate apps are a severe issue on the Google Play Store. Google has battled this for many years, but new threats continue to surface time and time again. And since dangerous apps can stay on Google Play Store for quite some time, the best thing to do is avoid unknown apps. But how do you stay safe when such apps look harmless at first glance?
To help protect your sensitive data, we’ve compiled a list of the top bank credential-stealing apps that are currently available for download. Be sure to avoid these apps at all costs!
How Do Such Apps Work?
Data-stealing apps are malicious applications designed to steal users’ login credentials and other sensitive details. These apps often masquerade as legitimate applications, but they are Trojans collecting user data and sending it to the attackers.
In the recent news, harmful applications primarily included QR code scanners and document scanners. However, there are no limits on what a malicious application can pretend to be. It could be a game, a calculator, a heart rate monitor, or a translator tool.
This latest malware can capture users’ online banking login details and two-factor authentication codes. The program even captures what you type and takes screen snips of the infected phones.
Some of the apps that were present on Google Play Store are the following:
- QR Scanner 2021
- PDF Document Scanner Free
- PDF Document Scanner
- Two Factor Authenticator
- Protection Guard
- QR CreatorScanner
- Master Scanner Live
- Gym and Fitness Trainer
What Happens After Installation
Once a user downloads and installs the malicious app on their phone, the Trojan immediately collects the user’s login credentials. In some cases, it can even intercept SMS messages that contain one-time passwords for extra security measures.
After sending back all this data to its creator, they can attempt to access accounts, steal funds, or make other unauthorized changes. The attacker will have the ability to transfer money out as they create new accounts without permission from users. At this very point, there will be no way for victims to regain their lost funds as attackers use cryptocurrency wallets that are difficult to trace.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
To protect yourself from data-stealing apps, you should always be vigilant about the applications you download and install on your smartphone. Only install reliable applications that you know to be trusted.
Also, regularly check apps installed on your smartphone. It is possible that some will be installed without your knowledge. If you detect such apps, delete them immediately.
Use the Play Protect feature
Android Play Protect is Google’s official security solution to protect devices from security threats such as malicious apps. The feature automatically performs malware scans regularly and highlights the apps that are infected on Google Play Store.
Check app security status before downloading it
Android also offers a feature that allows users to check the security status of an app before downloading it. It can be done by going to the Settings menu, selecting “Apps,” and then “Verify Apps.”
Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is an extra layer of security that requires two forms of identification (e.g., password and one-time code) to log in to an account. Enabling this feature can protect your accounts from being compromised even if attackers have your password.
Don’t install untrusted bank wallets
To protect yourself from attackers, avoid downloading applications you do not know. These may be untrusted programs created by cybercriminals to steal your data. Thus, reviews made by reliable cybersecurity experts should be your best friends. Additionally, read comments from former users that might reveal how the app is not exactly what you expect.
Use a strong password
A strong password is one of the most basic and effective ways to protect your data. Make sure your password is composed of letters, numbers, and symbols and is at least 8 characters long. For extra security, you can also enable two-factor authentication to prevent unauthorized access. After all, even if someone obtains your password, they won’t be able to access your account without the secret code you receive via SMS or notification.
Use official bank apps
Instead of using an unofficial third-party bank or financial apps, try using the official applications provided by your bank. These applications are properly tested and verified to be safe and secure.
Keep your phone updated
Make sure that your phone is always up to date with the latest security patches. This will help protect your device from being infected by malware and other security threats. After all, updates are not only about adding new features. Their main purpose is to fix vulnerabilities and other security apps that might compromise your security.
Encrypt internet traffic
The internet is full of dangers, and you never know when you encounter an unsafe HTTP website. Additionally, free Wi-Fi offered at airports or coffee shops is one of the easiest ways for hackers to steal your data. However, you can encrypt your internet traffic after downloading a VPN. This application encrypts all data you exchange online and prevents eavesdroppers from capturing it. It is one of the best ways to safeguard your personal details and geo-location. Thus, you can browse privately and safely on any network while concealing your browsing habits from nosy entities.
Scan devices for malware
To protect yourself from malware, install an antivirus app on your device. Such apps will scan your system for malicious files and block them accordingly. You can also run scans manually if you notice that there might be something wrong with your device. Of course, do not trust random pop-ups claiming that they have originated from reliable antivirus providers. Typically, such messages are from hackers attempting to trick you into calling fake customer support numbers.
As we progress towards a more digital society, it’s essential to be aware of the security threats that come with it. Data-stealing apps are a rising threat that can steal your data and money without you even knowing. By comprehending the tips provided in this article, you can help protect yourself from these threats. Of course, the best solution is to avoid apps you do not know. And, even if Google Play Store is a reliable source, its applications might not always be trustworthy. Be vigilant, and follow the same tips for all devices, not only smartphones.