There’s a new type of malware on the loose—and over a million Android devices have already been infected. Although, most of the infected devices are in Asia, 19 percent of them are in America, and 13,000 more devices are hacked each day. It’s the largest breach of Google accounts ever, and it’s definitely cause for concern.
You can pick up the malware aka Gooligan, by downloading seemingly harmless apps from sources other than the Google Play store. Once downloaded, Gooligan gains access to all of your data, including Gmail, Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Play and more.
Even though Gooligan has access to a lot of your personal data, it doesn’t appear to use it. Instead, Gooligan downloads apps from Google Play in a scam designed to collect advertising revenue. These apps may provide Gooligan’s creators with cash for each download or show ads to generate income. Compromised Google accounts may also leave reviews on these fraudulent apps to make them appear more legitimate to other users.
Here’s an easy way to check if you’re infected. Security firm Check Point has created a tool that shows if your email address is among the compromised accounts. If your device is compromised, you’ll want to do a clean installation of Android on your device
How to keep your device secure
- Install the latest version of Android, including the security patches. Your carrier should provide instructions when updates are available.
- Don’t download apps from anywhere other than the Google Play store. Newer versions of Android will warn you if you try to download apps from elsewhere. Pay attention when it does!
- Run a reputable anti-virus application. While anti-virus protection can sometimes be frustrating — anti-virus apps can accidentally identify non-malware as malware — it can help keep your phone secure. Try AVAST, AVG, Kaspersky, McAfee or Norton, all of which are free and known for their solid desktop anti-virus protection.
Researchers have discovered that data can be recovered after a factory reset. The file itself isn’t actually overwritten — the system just throws away all the info on the file, essentially tossing it in with whatever free space you have.
What can you do to prevent someone from recovering your data?
Encrypting your Android Phone is the strongest way to prevent its data from being recovered. Devices running Android 6.0 Marshmallow are required (except maybe some low-end devices) by Google to have mandatory encryption for maximum security.
Devices running Android 5.0 Lollipop or lower (and supports encryption), it’s highly recommended you turn on encryption (Settings > Security > Encrypt phone) to scramble its data before doing a factory reset. (The setting location may vary on different devices.)
Then factory reset it
Cybercriminals are increasingly targeting Apple devices and you can expect more of the activity in 2016. Expect to see a rise in attacks on its operating systems, security experts suggest. According to security firm Symantec, the amount of malware aimed at Apple’s mobile operating system (iOS) has more than doubled this year, while threats to Mac computers also rose. Security firm FireEye also expects 2016 to be a bumper year for Apple malware.
Systems such as Apple Pay could be targeted, it predicts. Apple is an obvious target for cybercriminals because its products are so popular. While the total number of threats targeting Apple devices remains low compared with Windows and Android, Symantec is seeing the range of threats multiply. Users can no longer be complacent about security, as the number of infections and new threats rise.
Hackers are also increasingly targeting corporations, where Mac use is now more prevalent. A corporate espionage group known as Butterfly which attacked multi-billion dollar companies in 2015 developed malware tools that attacked both Windows and Apple computers.
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Silicon Valley companies are flocking to Dublin, as their gateway to European and global success. Business writer Heather Somerville on the website http://www.contracostatimes.com reports; the start-ups don’t qualify for the tax breaks available to multi-nationals simply because they only apply to profits.
Start-ups are following Apple, Intel, Google and Facebook to Europe because it makes good business sense. Somerville reports that these startups are setting up their first overseas offices in the hope that the booming tech city of Dublin will become their launchpad to global success. San Francisco data software start-up New Relic have just made the commitment to Ireland. Chief marketing officer Patrick Moran says “It feels a little bit like a mini-San Francisco. All of our startup friends are there.”
New Relic opened a Dublin office in February and plans to hire about 50 employees at their first office outside the US.Chris Cook, president and chief operating officer at New Relic, added: “Dublin is the launching point for our European strategy and an essential part of our global expansion plans.”
Fellow San Francisco-based companies like Airbnb, cloud software company Zendesk and file storage and sharing startup Dropbox are also new to Dublin.
Yelp and Survey Money have announced plans to open a 100-person Dublin office.
Mark Harris is chief financial officer of Malwarebytes, an anti-virus software company in San Jose is expected to open in Ireland next year.