Monday, October 15, 2012

FBI Issues Android Warning - Provides Recommendations for Users


Source:  FortuneIC3.


The FBI has issue what appears to be a very fire warning regarding Android OS and the description of the malware is scaring the crap out of me. 

Ouch.  Big ouch.

Maybe this is a case to be made for buying only from Google and embracing the Nexus brand rather than Amazon, Barnes & Noble, HTC, or Samsung. 

In the press release, the G-men has a list of recommendations to follow when getting an Android device. 
  • When purchasing a Smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
  • Depending on the type of phone, the operating system may have encryption available. This can be used to protect the user's personal data in the case of loss or theft.
  • With the growth of the application market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.
  • Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.
  • Passcode protect your mobile device. This is the first layer of physical security to protect the contents of the device. In conjunction with the passcode, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.
  • Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user's location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.
  • Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier.      This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device. Anytime a user, application or service runs in "unrestricted" or "system" level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.
  • Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.
  • Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If users neglect this it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised.
  • Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
  • Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.
We’ll be back later to commend on the significance of this press release.  The feds don’t do these kinds of things unless they know something is up.  Just last week, the SecDef (Secretary of Defense) in his party suit gave a dire warning about cyber attacks and the media is all over the latest volley of bank attacks from Tehran.

It’s not likely this is related but more about privacy and identity thefts but you cannot discount just how bad things are out there now and how much worse it could get.

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