The Three Most Common Internet Viruses

A computer can obtain a virus, malware, or spyware without their owner even realizing it. Sometimes, the simple act of visiting a website is enough to contract a virus while in other cases internet users unwittingly download viruses by clicking false links that install the bad code. In order to protect your PC, internet users need to understand the most common threats.

That’s why, we have created an infographic that will show you three of the most common Internet viruses so you know how to detect them before it gets bad. (Read in our blog: Internet Viruses: A Preventable Threat)

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Ransomware Alert: Mobile Phone Abduction

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Hollywood has a history of obsession with the thriller and horror movies based on kidnappings. A common plot line is for a crime syndicate to abduct a person and then demand a large amount of money for their return. Such schemes rarely work in the movies, they are constantly thwarted by an A-list hero, but hackers have taken the idea of abduction and applied it to their malware with greater success.
Ransomware is a specific type of malware that locks a user out of their phone and demands a monetary payment in order for the user to regain access. The practice started on Windows computers, but in recent years cybercriminals have begun to target mobile phones. Spurred by success, the rate of Ransomware infections is increasing and as long as the trap is profitable, Ransomware will never go away.

How Ransomware Works

Although Ransomware is a relatively new type of malware, the delivery of the malicious files relies largely on well established means. Ransomware is typically disguised as a Trojan and gains access to a system when they are accidently downloaded. On mobile devices, the most common hiding place for Ransomware is in apps. In the past, video player apps, adult entertainment apps, and software updates have all played cover for Ransomware while the bad program delivers the payload.
In terms of malware, the payload is the code that infects the device and performs the harmful action. Ransomware locks a user out of their own phone and there are three primary ways it does this.

Protection agains ransomware

1. Fake Police Alerts – A warning page appears on the screen and locks itself, explaining that the authorities (FBI, Department of Defense, Cyber Crime Center, etc.) have discovered illegal activities on the phone.

2. Lock Screen – The Ransomware infiltrates the phone’s lock screen, and appoints itself or trick the user into making it the device administrator. Then the malware prevents the user from using the phone until payment is made.

3. File Encryption – Data is scrambled and people receive a ransom note saying, “Your phone has been encrypted. Pay $300 to us and we will give you the key.”

Payloads vary slightly, but in all cases Ransomware leverages a person’s data against them and demands money, usually between $200 and $500. Some of the most successful Ransomware have stolen millions of dollars and they include the programs Koler, Simplelocker, and CryptoLocker among many others.

What to Do if You Are Victimized

First of all, because Ransomware is not in the Google Play Store, phones must be set to “allow apps from unknown sources” for Ransomware to be downloaded. However, people approve apps for download all the time, and if you are infected with Ransomware, removal is difficult but possible. Here are the options:

1. Pay the Ransom – Obvious but not a favorable choice

2. Factory Reboot – Complete restart that results in a loss of all data and photos

3. Enter “Safe Mode,” Remove Ransomware as Device Administrator, Uninstall Ransomware

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How to Prevent Ransomware

The best defense against Ransomware and other form of malware is to prevent them from ever accessing your phone. One way to protect your phone is to install an antivirus app that has the ability to scan files in real time. This means that apps, websites, and zip files will be checked out before they are downloaded, and if malware is detected, then you will be alerted. No coincidently, Android Security Suite is designed to do just that; vet everything for malicious software before it becomes an issue. With Android Security Suite on your phone, you don’t have to worry about Ransomware, I guess you could say we are the preemptive hero of your personal hostage film.

Internet Viruses: A Preventable Threat

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Computer viruses are nasty agents that can compromise personal information, cost a lot of money, and ruin machines.


Cough, cough. It isn’t flu season yet, but winter is just around the corner. Viruses such as the flu become more common during winter months because people spend more time indoors which makes the transfer of nasty bugs easier. Unfortunately, when it comes to computers, viruses are always in season and the internet is a hotbed of infection.
The scary truth is that a computer can obtain a virus, malware, or spyware without their owner even realizing it. Sometimes, the simple act of visiting a website is enough to contract a virus while in other cases internet users unwittingly download viruses by clicking false links that install the bad code. Computer viruses are nasty agents that can compromise personal information, cost a lot of money, and ruin machines. In order to protect your PC, internet users need to understand the most common threats, how to detect them, and, most importantly, how to avoid them.

How Can I Get a Virus From a Website?

The computer science behind a virus is actually quite simple. A virus is a piece of code or a program that can copy itself and runs without approval from the computer owner. There are dozens of different ways that you can get a virus from a website, some of the usual suspects are e-mail scams, torrent sharing, and video downloads.
When you visit a website, your web browser automatically reads, interprets, and displays the content for you. Unfortunately, there are deficiencies in all programs, including web browsers called “exploits.” These exploits are targeted by hackers as easy ways to spread their evil creations. That is how a computer can become infected without a person doing anything. Just by doing its job, a web browser can expose a computer to a virus.
Beyond automatic infection, viruses can be hidden within other files or disguised as other programs entirely. Torrent sites, which are popular for sharing pirated video and audio files, are a very high risk environment because they are not moderated. Anyone can upload files for download, including hackers.
Similar tactics are used to disguise viruses in other files. Pop-up ads, fake security breach warnings, and software updates are all common hiding places for malware. Watching pornography is another famous threat to computer integrity but is safe compared to the torrent sites. Many porn websites, like it or not, are businesses with an interest in maintaining a safe website, and therefore screen their files for viruses.

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Never download something that you do not trust, never download something that you have not read, and try to avoid threatening websites.

What Kinds of Viruses Are Common?

There are as many different types of viruses as there are routes to infection, but the three most common are called Trojans, botnets, and fake anti-virus software known as “scareware.”

Trojans – These are programs that take their name from the Trojan horse and are anything that is disguised to be something else. Download a Trojan and it will download its accompanying virus to your computer.

Botnets – A botnet is a network of infected PC’s that hackers use for a variety of evil tasks. Most recognizably, botnets are responsible for the majority of spam e-mails which are used by fraudsters to phish for personal information.

Scareware – A pop-up appears on your computer screen: WARNING! Your computer is infected. Download this program now to “protect” yourself. If you click on the pop-up your computer most certainly will become infected.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself?

The number one way that computer users can protect themselves is with common sense and awareness. Never download something that you do not trust, never download something that you have not read, and try to avoid threatening websites.
Besides policing your online behavior, antivirus software can remove existing viruses and help to detect online threats in the future. Another step that internet users can take is keeping software up to date. Most software updates are released to increase security and reduce vulnerability by closing exploits.

The bad news is that viruses are everywhere on the web. The good news is that they can, in large part, be prevented. Take care to protect yourself by updating software and browsing responsibly, it’s Vitamin-C for your computer.

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Android Has Stagefright and Your Device Probably Does Too

Android bug stagefright

Android Security Suite Stagefright Detector

Learn all about the Android security bug known as “Stagefright”. What it is, how to know if you have it, and how to protect your device.

What’s more shocking? That 75% of people are afraid to speak in front of a crowd or that 95% of all Android devices are vulnerable to malicious attack? Probably depends on the type of smartphone you own.
In total, 900 million Android devices released over the last five years have a defect in their operating system nicknamed “Stagefright.” So far, the Stagefright vulnerability has not been exploited by hackers, but it still remains a problem with the potential to cause widespread mayhem. Here is what Android owners need to know about Stagefright, how to tell if your device has Stagefright, and what you can do to protect yourself from attack.

What is “Stagefright”?

“Stagefright” refers to a software bug within a native Android video player called Stagefright, hence the name. Theoretically, the bug could be used by a hacker to steal private information from an Android device by sending a text message with a worm embedded in a video file. There are two different ways that a vulnerable phone can be attacked through this bug: 1) via text message with embedded video files or 2) by viewing web videos.

1. Most messaging apps like Google Hangouts and the default Android messaging app automatically download received video messages so that the videos are ready to view immediately when the user opens them. Once inside of a phone, that phone could be used to send the worm onto the phone’s contacts, further spreading the problem.

2. In similar fashion, viewing a video on the internet could leave a compromised phone at risk. A video file with a worm could exploit the Stagefright vulnerability through your web browsing app because Android uses the same Stagefright mechanism to process online videos.

The scary thing is that in both cases a phone can be breached remotely and secretively, without the owner even knowing.

Where Did Stagefright Come From?

Joshua Drake of Zimperium cyber-security originally found the Stagefight exploit in April 2015. He gave his findings to Google and the company made revisions to their code to fix the problem. However, more bugs were found and on July 27th the Stagefright bug was publically disclosed.

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Will it be Patched?

Since the announcement, Android device manufacturers have been working on updates to patch the issue. However, these updates require the cooperation of Google (developers of Android), manufacturers who make the devices (Samsung, Sony, LG, etc.) and the mobile carriers who serve the devices (Sprint, T-mobile, AT&T, etc). All the red tape has made Android security updates particularly sluggish and in most cases, non-existent.

How Can I Tell If My Device Has Stagefright?

If you are an Android user, the numbers are not in your favor. 900 million or, 95% of worldwide Android devices contain the Stagefright bug in their OS. The chances are good that if you are running Froyo 2.2, Lollipop 5.1.1, or anything in between you are at risk of attack.
To be sure, there are multiple Stagefright detection apps that can be used to see if a phone does indeed have “Stagefright.” They are:

Android Security Suite Stagefright detector
The Zimperium Stagefright Detector and
The Lookout Mobile Stagefright Detector

How to Protect Yourself

The news isn’t all bad when it comes to Stagefright. According to Adrian Ludwig, the head of Android security, “90 percent of Android devices have a technology called ASLR enabled, which protects users from the issue.” (ASLR is a security measure that makes hacking more difficult by randomizing information.)
Anyone with a compromised device can take steps to protect themselves from infection. The best way to do so is by disabling the auto-download function of your text messaging apps. In most messaging apps, the basic steps are to: Open the app, tap the main menu, select settings, go to SMS or MMS, and deselect the automatic download function.
In any case, never open a video message from an unknown number and be wary of suspicious messages from friend’s phones. Hopefully, the bug will be resolved before a catastrophe, but you never know. Stagefright isn’t limited to humans anymore. Your Android probably has it.

The Dark Side of Social Media

Our brains are hard-wired to believe. We take in information literally and then evaluate it against our knowledge to decide whether or not it is true. For a moment, no matter how brief, humans will believe anything that they are told. This belief is compounded if the source of the information is someone that we know, trust, or respect.

Consider the famous Nigerian Prince Scam, a simple, fraudulent e-mail that promises a future cash reward in exchange for a small advance payment. Of course, the scam is ridiculous but, according to historians a version of the scam has been used by con artists for over 200 years. Now, social media has opened up a whole new industry for cyber-criminals and while e-mail spam is decreasing in frequency, social media is ripe with scammers looking to make a quick buck.

Social Media Affiliate Programs

social media scams

Through affiliate programs, scammers can trick you into participating in a survey and/or signing up for a premium service. In this way, scammers collect your info and make money.

All scams have one thing in common, the goal is to make money and social media scams are no different. Most commonly, social media fraudsters monetize their efforts through participation in affiliate programs. These are incentive programs in which companies pay “affiliates” for driving traffic to their website. For instance, some unsuspecting person sees an ad for a free $1,000 gift card if they will only enter their e-mail address. When they enter their e-mail address and click submit, they have earned a referral fee for a criminal. They will never see the gift card because it never existed. It was only a ploy to get personal information.

Common Social Media Scams

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and all other social media platforms have changed the way people interact socially and professionally. We crave likes, comments, and re-tweets like a pregnant woman craves pickles and ice cream. We are able to follow our best friends and favorite celebrities and interact with them on a daily basis. All of these benefits are noticed by scammers who use them to their advantage when designing their schemes.

Facebook scam

Manual sharing plots are the most common and rely on social media users to spread. Usually, scammers will embed links to an affiliate site or malware inside of videos, pictures, or fake offers meant to entice people into unknowingly sharing the links with their friends. Fake offering scams are related and request social media users to join fake groups or events and share personal information in exchange for a free gift. Together, manual sharing and fake offering scams made up 93% of social media threats.

Phishing

Another type of cyber-fraud, phishing is the collection of personal information for the purposes of moneymaking. In regards to social media, phishing links are almost always hidden behind a hook (pun intended) such as a shocking news story or outlandish celebrity scandal. Once a user clicks on the link, they will be taken to a phishing site where they will be asked to login before they can proceed. Criminals will take the login information and hack other accounts for which the user has the same password (Apple ID, Bank Accounts, E-mail, Cloud Storage, etc.)

What is phishing

How to Protect Yourself

Knowledge and preparation are the two most important defenses against social media scams. While on social media, watch out for sensationalized stories, wild celebrity news, and offers for free money. Instead of clicking on links within social media, search for the stories on reputable news sites to see if they are legitimate. Also, never fill out a form unless you are certain the transaction is secure. Cyber-criminals are very creative and can use just about any personal information against you to make money for themselves.

Android Antivirus

Android Security Suite

In terms of preparation, one of the best investments a social media user can make is an antivirus app that can recognize threats. Apps like Android Security Suite that offers 24/7 real-time protection provides the most comprehensive protection and download directly to your device. Good antimalware will scan and detect malicious websites, phishing sites, and viruses to protect your device and your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

How to remove malware and viruses from Android devices (Video)

Remove malware and virus from Android

There’s a misconception that Android devices cannot get malware but the reality is that there are more than 1 million apps infected with malicious code.

According to the 2015 Internet Security Threat Report conducted by Symantec, cybercriminals are developing new variants of malware that can surpass security policies and restrictions, hence getting to our devices through innocent looking games and apps.

Many of us are unaware of the consequences of having malware in our devices and the personal data hackers chase, which in most cases are bank account details and user ID’s. Furthermore, fake versions of banking and other well-known apps can deceive us in an attempt to collect our bank account details.

This is why, if your device starts acting strangely, slowing down or bombards you with advertising; you should get an antivirus app for Android capable enough to scan files and apps and find the source of the problem.

In the following video, we will tell you what hackers are capable of and how to remove malware from Android devices so you can take action and fight cybercriminals.

To get the most advanced anti-malware and Antivirus protection for Android go to Android Security Suite

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Mobile Cloud Labs CEO on Android Security Suite Release

Mobile cloud labs will release one of the most advanced anti-malware apps for the Android mobile platform, Android Security Suite.
Mobile Cloud Labs CEO, Richard Sylvester, answered some questions with details about this upcoming release in the following interview.

Anti-malware for Android

Android Security Suite is a completely secure and comprehensive solution where Android users can protect their devices from malicious viruses, malware and apps that could potentially steal their information or damage their system.

If you’re an Android owner, you deserve top-of-the-line protection for your investment. Here are just a few of the amazing features our security suite offers:

• Automatic scanning of your system, including apps and files
• Scans for both Android and Windows viruses to prevent spreading between devices
• When enabled, our Suite’s deep scan breaks apps apart and looks at their contents
• When enabled, our Suite breaks zip files apart and looks at their contents (unique)
• Real-time detection scans new apps and updates
• Real-time detection also scans new files and changes to files (unique)
• When enabled, our Suite protects your browsing against malicious websites

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Mobile Cloud Labs’ team is moving forward in the development of Android Security Suite. What’s new?

Mobile Cloud Labs' team 2015

Mobile Cloud Labs’ team meeting in 2015. In the photo, from left to right: Tray Houston, Vaidas Barauskas, Brian McCauley and Richard Sylvester.

Even though Mobile Cloud Labs’ team is spread around the world, the company made it possible for our directors, designers, marketing staff and software developers to meet in the United Stated to work on the development of Android Security Suite, the most advanced antivirus for android.

Unlike our competitors, Android Security Suite integrates several solutions to protect Android devices to the fullest extent. Our team expects to release the first version in the second quarter of 2015 and assures that our antivirus solution brings state of the art technology never seen in an Android antivirus app before.

What’s new in this release?

As any advanced antivirus, Android Security Suite will protect your Android device from cybercriminals that try to steal your passwords, identity, bank account info and other personal data. However, what is unique is that our state of the art engine scans not only apps but files for known viruses, malware and other cyber threats, something few competitors do.

What sets Android Security Suite apart is that the engine scans for both Android and Windows threats. This feature prevents viruses and other threats from spreading between devices and is so strong that if you enable the deep scan options it will break apart apps and zip files in real time to look for possible threats.

On top of this, Android Security Suite’s real time protection is one of the strongest in the industry and will monitor your app installs, apps updates and changes to your files, something very few do. You can also enable the “safe browsing“ option to protect from malicious websites and potential scams.

Android Security Suite Antivirus

Android Security Suite videos in App will show the most advanced features of our antivirus engine.

Additionally, in our application as well as our web channels, users will be able to find videos explaining the most relevant features of our engine such as Zip File Scan, Deep Scanning and Advanced Real Time Protection. We also had special T-Shirts made specifically for our actors and actresses in the videos and are giving some away for free, just contact us at: info@mobilecloudlabs.com and ask for your free shirt (while supplies last).

With this release, Mobile Cloud Labs looks to offer users across the world valuable android applications starting with the antivirus solution. With Android Security Suite, anyone can “Savor the protection of Android Security Suiteness“.

Violence, Sex and Harassment: How to protect your kids on the Internet

How to protect your kids on the Internet

Photo by ganesha.isis. Flickr.


Violence, sex and harassment on the internet, a lurking danger for kids and teens, parents often don’t know how to protect their kids while many surf the Internet without control amongst these dangers.

Joseph Brown is a 15 year old kid who spends all day online which is not uncommon as 88% of kids rooms have some type of internet access. In addition the skyrocketing use of cellphones adds to this problem as this mini communication center also serves as a game console, TV and MP3 player.

We have a class wide chat, if I don’t connect to it I won’t know what’s happening, for example I could miss my homework. I can not imagine what it would be like to live without a cellphone” comments Joseph Brown.

Joseph’s mother, Karen Brown believes that today’s children are the experts in the digital world: “It demands a lot of energy trying to stay ahead of them, controlling them and trying to find out what they do and what websites they surf at all times” she says.

The ability to navigate from the cellphone allows teens to be more exposed since a simple search is enough to access violent or sexual content. Many middle and high school kids post images or videos without being aware of the repercussions, where something as harmless as a selfie, may become subject to blackmail or harassment on the internet.

In my school there was a boy who was bullied and many others in the class branded him as stinky. They put pictures of him on Facebook next to the word skunk“, comments Joseph. Linda Davis one of Joseph’s classmates adds: “I met a girl who had a selfie in a bikini on her cellphone. During a school trip someone stole her phone and sent that picture to all her contacts.

As Linda and Joseph, 1 in 3 teenagers know someone that has been bullied on the Internet. In worst cases, private photos taken with cellphones are shared along with a phone number. Many cellphones are stolen or taken to cyber bully others, in these scenarios children and parents can use applications such as MyAntiTheft to track where the phone is, take a picture of the person that is using it and block access to other apps and content in the phone.

Geolocation tracking to always know where your device is at.

My AntiTheft’s geolocation tracking

However, these psychological attacks put children against the wall. Experts warn about the seriousness of cyber bullying but it’s even more important that parents and teachers talk about this situations with their kids. It’s best to delete all data and call the police in the most serious cases where private pictures make it out to social media such as Twitter and Facebook.

Another problem is video game violence, although many are for adults only, children have little difficulty in accessing them. Luckily, there is special software to protect children such as Kids Safe Browser or K9 Web Protection Browser where the goal is to filter content allowing only authorized images and text to be shown while blocking prohibited websites.

And being no less relevant, it is necessary to warn kids about risky downloads and other services requiring payment as in many cases these can be phishing sites that contain malware. This can be difficult as these sites and apps are not always easily recognizable by both kids and adults, thus it is necessary to use an antivirus app such as MyAntivirus to help block these threats.

It is important to be aware that a single click can lead to a significant family expense. Simple mistakes can be a learning experience but they can also wreck havoc and will go to show that on the internet, anyone can be fooled.

Tips to Prevent Online Christmas Scams

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“All that glitters is not gold” and when it comes to online scams, Christmas shoppers must watch out for “too good to be true” bargains that could end up hurting their wallets.

According to research conducted in 2013 on behalf of FFA UK by ICM in the UK, online scams cost shoppers $15 million dollars. These people were victims of “vishing” a fraud method that attempts to get personal or financial information via telephone when fraudsters act as technical support agents or sales people.

With cyber Monday and the Christmas shopping season, cybercriminals are offering all kinds of products at very low prices. The website Get Safe Online published a list of the top five most risky items in which you can find Smartphones at the top, followed by game consoles, Ugg boots, Barbour jackets and iPads.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably a scam or fake item.

Learn how to protect yourself when shopping online:

• If you get a call asking you to confirm a purchase, don’t reveal your bank account or shopping details since this is the way most fraudsters work. Just hang up and call your bank from a different phone to make sure everything is ok.
• Check your bank account regularly and make sure that your bank has your contact numbers so they can alert you if anything unusual or suspicious happens.
• Always make sure web URLs start with “https”, pay close attention to the “S” at the end. If the site doesn’t have the S nor the gold padlock icon, avoid shopping from that website.
• For banking or shopping, only use official online websites and mobile apps.
• Type the address of your bank or online shop directly into your browser. Never use a link from your email to go to your bank website nor should you open attached files that ask for personal information.
• If you own or are in the market for a new smartphone or tablet, protect it by downloading MyAntiTheft with MyAntiVirus and make sure it’s safeguarded with a PIN.
• In regards to online auctions and high value items, make sure you see the product before sending money. Use secure payment methods like PayPal instead of paying individual sellers.
• Once all your shopping or banking sessions are done and you followed this online safety guide, log out of the website or app. Also keep every purchase confirmation email.