September 2, 2014

Lookout: 18 million infected Android devices by end of 2013

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There will be a total of 18 million malware infected Android devices from the start of 2012 through the end of 2013,according to estimates from the security experts at Lookout. The firm has released their annual Mobile Threat Predictions for next year and forecast that toll fraud will be the biggest problem facing users across the globe.

While not so much of a problem in the United States, Lookout finds that malware can be a real nuisance for parts of the world. Those in the U.S. stand a .20 percent to .40 percent chance of picking up a virus or malware however Russia’s threat levels reach as high as 34.7 percent.  All told, the number of infected devices is a small percentage of Android 1.3 million (and growing) daily activations.  Still, 18 million of anything is a lot of something.

We here at AndroidGuys love Lookout and have endorsed them since we first set eyes on the app.  We’ve met the team a number of times and find them to be some of the cooler folks in California. That said, we’ve also been saying that users have to watch their backs a bit and be proactive. Lookout, Google, and all the others involved in protecting consumers are great but you are the first line of defense.

Lookout has put together a number of tips that users can take to ensure their Android experience is as smooth and pain-free as possible.

  • Avoid toll fraud, regularly check your phone bill: Always review your monthly phone bill statements for suspicious charges. Contact your carrier if you identify something you believe to be fraud.
  • Double-check URLs on your mobile: After clicking on a web link, pay close attention to the address to make sure it matches the website it claims to be, especially if you are asked to enter account or login information.
  • Protect your privacy, understand app permissions: Be cautious about granting applications access to personal information on your phone or letting the application have access to perform functions on your phone. Make sure to check the privacy settings for each app before installing it.
  • Be smart about device settings: Keep network connectivity such as NFC / WiFi, or Bluetooth ‘OFF’ when not in use. Be sure to disable settings such as debug mode that can open a device up to illicit access.
  • Download a security app: Download a security app that scans the apps you download for malware and spyware, helps you locate a lost or stolen device, and protects you from unsafe websites.
  •  Update your phone and apps: Make sure to download and install updates from your mobile operator as soon as they are available for your device. The same goes for apps, download app updates when they are available.

We definitely recommend reading through the entire Threat Predictions post over at Lookout’s blog. It’s part eye-opening, part fear tactics, and part comforting at the same time.