Malware attacks on the Google Android OS are steadily increasing as Android phones become more popular. In fact, nearly all malware attacks on smartphones and tablets target the Android OS, according to a 2013 Kaspersky Labs report. Cybercriminals will often create Trojan malware that exploit security vulnerabilities in Android. Trojans help hackers gain access to confidential information on the device. Mobile security apps detect and remove Trojans and protect the Android OS from malware attacks.
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Dangers of Trojan Malware
Mobile phones can become infected with Trojans from what the user thinks is a trusted source such as an SMS message or an Android app known as an APK. These Trojans often create backdoors, which give hackers remote access to personal and confidential information on the phone.
The most sophisticated Android Trojan discovered by Kaspersky Labs is known as Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad.a. This sneaky trojan, using an Android vulnerability infects devices and gains administrator privileges. Once successful, it can obtain confidential information from the infected device including the phone number, phone carrier and Bluetooth MAC address.
Update Your Firmware
In 2013, experts at Bluebox Security discovered a "Master Key" vulnerability in the Android OS that existed since Android 1.6. The security flaw allows a hacker to convert a seemingly legitimate application into a Trojan. After the vulnerability was discovered, Google patched it in a February 2013 update to its OS.
For that reason, it's important to update to the latest firmware version available for your device. To check for updates on your Android phone or tablet, go into your "System Settings," tap "About Phone" and select "System Updates."
Free apps such as avast! Mobile Security, Kaspersky Mobile Security Lite and Lookout Security & Antivirus can detect and remove Trojans from your Android device. To check for Trojans, download and install a mobile security app from Google Play and scan your device. Once the scan is complete, the report will let you know if a Trojan issue is detected. You will then be prompted to remove the Trojan.
Another option to remove Trojans from the Android OS is to do a factory reset on the device. A factory reset will erase any saved data from the device, so it's important to back up your important data before proceeding. To back up data and then perform factory reset on your Android device, select "System Settings" and then "Privacy." From there, you can back up any information before selecting the "Factory Data Reset" option. If you think an app may have been the source of the Trojan, you will want to ensure you don't back up that particular app.
Warning on Exposed Data
Even after you successfully remove a Trojan virus from your Android device, you have to assume that any sensitive data that was on your device has been exposed. After getting rid of the malware, focus on changing any passwords or other sensitive information that might have been compromised.