Chances are, you own a smartphone, and that device helps you to manage quite a bit, both personally and professionally. As smartphones have risen in importance, they have also drawn the attention of hackers who attack via malicious applications. Here, we wanted to offer some tips that can help you spot these malicious apps before falling victim.
Even amongst the most security-conscious, the threat that a mobile application can pose is commonly overlooked and underestimated. While the official app stores have safeguards in place (and are therefore the only place you should download an app from), some threats can slip past. Therefore, it is important for you to always review the permissions that each app requires. If these permissions seem to demand too much, it may be better to give an app a pass. This helps prevent a common tactic that malware distributors use—they introduce a harmless application through the app store, only to turn it malicious with an update after it is installed.
While you probably didn’t come here for a physics lesson, one concept is important to know for this next point. The first law of thermodynamics states that the universe contains a set amount of energy, and none is ever created or destroyed. Instead, it is converted and transferred in different forms.
So, when you set down a fully-charged mobile device, and pick it up later to find a significantly lower battery life after it has been unused, this is a sign of a problem. While some energy “loss” (in reality, transference) is to be expected, an extreme change could indicate a malware infection making use of the battery’s charge. This malware would expend your phone’s available energy by running processes in the background. Checking your battery settings to see if an application is using more power than expected can help you spot potential threat vectors.
While it’s understandable that you might mistype a password or get a few of them mixed up every once in a while, repeated “incorrect password” prompts when you’re sure you typed it correctly could be a sign of an account breach.
Fixing this will take some legwork, as you will need to reach out to the company that runs the account to reclaim it. Regardless of if you can or not, make sure that you change all of your passwords as a security precaution. Make sure that these replacements all meet best practices and restore your device from a backup to make sure that any credential-stealing malware is removed as well, just to be safe.
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