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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Have you ever been a victim of Internet malware?

The State of the Art Scanning Engine that Bulldozes Mobile Malware

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Studies have shown that at least 16 million mobile devices were infected with malware in 2014, and the numbers are only growing. Banking information, contacts and passwords are the main targets that hackers are willing to exploit without mobile users’ knowledge. The need for reliable antimalware software is imperative to protect mobile users data and block malware from getting onto the devices.

Viruses and other threats can get into your device via downloads, videos, webpages or apps. Few antimalware applications will detect them. When downloading an antimalware/antivirus for Android devices, make sure it breaks apart your apps, files and zip files to scan for possible threats. Also, look for the ones that have the capability of scanning for both Android and Windows viruses in order to prevent spreading infected files from your Android device to your home computer.

One app that does it all is Android Security Suite, its state of the art scanning engine will protect your passwords, identity, bank account info and other personal data on your Android devices. Protect your device today with reliable, free software you can trust.

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By monitoring your device with Real Time Protection, our app keeps you safe around the clock. Only one app delivers the comprehensive monitoring security needed to safeguard your Android devices 24/7.

With a three-pronged approach, our comprehensive security app keeps all of your valuable information safe from malicious activity.

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3. Browsing protection: Android Security Suite protects you while you surf the web. Real Time Protection means that you are covered, even when you’re browsing. Malware can easily infect your Android device’s browser, but Real Time Protection easily detects websites that are embedded with viruses and malware.

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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.

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.

Spam: The Digital Plague

Spam, the digital plague
183 million spam messages are sent worldwide on a daily basis. Spamming can be a lucrative business that saturates email accounts and can transmit malware and viruses to your computer or mobile device.

It is estimated that worldwide, the damage caused by spam reaches in excess of $12 billion dollars. Anti spam activists such as the Spamhause Project or Google, fight against this plague.

Spammers usually operate with nonexistent companies to buy IP addresses and use outside servers. Unfortunately, 4 out of 5 spam messages advertise suspicious online businesses. For example, the so-called Nigerian scam is designed to make you think that you can get millions of dollars but only if you send a sum of money in advanced.

Other spam messages contain files that infect your computer or mobile device that allow hackers to control and access them remotely. Anti spam organizations maintain spam lists, which are used to block suspicious senders and report them to the police.

This digital plague is not something exclusive to Russia and Nigeria, as it is generally thought. In fact, industrialized countries such as Germany and Japan are in the top 10 lists, with the US in the first place.

 10 Worst Spam Countries

Image: The Spamhaus Project


In many countries, spam is difficult to control due to legislation and also because it is difficult to verify that a person did not give consent to receive such messages. Once the spammers are identified, anti spam activists report their information to the police in order to assist in putting a stop to it.

Despite the efforts of organizations such as Spamhaus or the police, the battle against spam is far from over. Spammers are constantly evolving and changing their methods until eventually this junk email will be more methodical, unrecognizable, and better integrated into the daily life.

The amount of spam is not expected to reduce, however anti-spam organizations have a clear objective: to prevent spam from reaching our inbox.

Spam is digital trash and as such it should be sent to the recycle bin unopened. Do not click on any links from spam emails and always protect your mobile devices against malware and other threats with antivirus solutions such as MyAntiTheft.

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.