Smartphone users should be cautious when downloading apps, particularly through browser and social media, as there has been a reported rise in cyber criminals creating malicious apps in an attempt to install malware and steal personal information. These scammers may copy legitimate apps in an attempt to trick the user or create new ones disguised as a mobile game or tool.
What is malware?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, malware is one of the biggest threats to personal devices and includes viruses, spyware, and other unwanted software. Once installed through the malicious app, criminals can use it to steal personal information and even perpetrate ransomware. Ransomware is when the fraudster demands payment to release encrypted data stolen by the malware.
In one recent scenario, the Google Play store recently removed the Craftsart Cartoon Photo Tools app. The app was presented as a filter that turned photos into painting and cartoons but installed malware behind the scenes in an attempt to steal usernames and passwords. It had more than a million downloads before it was removed.
Steps to avoid becoming a victim include, but are not limited to:
- Avoid downloading apps from a browser, only apps available in your devices official store.
- Be wary of apps from unknown developers or those with limited or bad reviews.
- Do not grant administrator or excessive privileges to apps unless you truly trust them.
- Read the end-user agreement before installing the app.
- Keep devices and apps updated as companies use patches to remove security vulnerabilities.
Go to consumer.ftc.gov/articles/how-recognize-remove-avoid-malware to learn more about malware, steps to take to protect your devices and what to do if you become a victim.
If you are a MVSB customer and you are concerned your personal or financial information was compromised due to a malicious app, please call us directly at 800.922.6872 so that we can assist you with protecting your accounts and identity.