Following the news that over 36 million Android devices may have been affected by the so-called “Judy” malware, David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab commented below.
David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab:
With news that 36.5 million devices could be affected by a new Android app called “Judy”, it is more crucial than ever that we protect ourselves from unwanted apps.
Apps offer consumers entertainment, communication and convenience however they are also putting user data and devices at risk due to their everyday functionality. Technical findings and analysis from the Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) and an experiment into app performance by Kaspersky Lab found that of 100 Android apps users can manage (i.e. install and delete), 83 have access to sensitive user data, such as contacts, messages and data, and can even make calls and send SMSs. This is worrying when we consider that 96 in 100 Android apps start working without users launching them.
A UK survey by Kaspersky Lab found that 79 per cent of people connect their smartphone to the Internet and store vast amounts of personal data on the devices. But consumers are concerned by who has access to their data, with 40 per cent saying they’d be more worried about other people having their personal data than about getting it back.
In fact, almost half of those surveyed said they would feel violated if their personal data was stolen, yet 71 per cent don’t have their data backed-up.
The build-up of digital clutter means that app cleansing and updating are now more important than ever to combat malware that uses apps’ vulnerabilities to penetrate devices. However, the most important thing is still to protect the device itself by employing Internet security software and implementing regular updates.
There are a few simple steps to de-clutter and protect data:
- Have Active and Up-To-Date Software: Use a reliable Internet security solutionand allow the automatic updates to run for all software and apps. These are in place to protect you from new security threats
- Use a strong passcode: At least twelve characters with a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Use a password manager for accounts that do not store your financial information.
- Back-up Data:Making a regular backup of your data is a must both on an external hard drive and or a cloud service
- Change app settings: These enable the user to manage how the app interacts with the device. For example, apps can get access to user sensitive information, track user locations and share user data with third party servers. Failure to manage these settings can result in unused apps gaining access to information on the device without the user being aware
- ‘Spring clean’ your device: Spend some time to get your digital house in order by regularly clearing out data, uninstalling apps that are not needed and refreshing the information stored on your devices