The Zombie WhatsApp Waking Up Android Device Security

Cybercrime hit WhatsApp -- more than 4M devices downloaded the Zombie app. Here are key Android device security points for mobile device security managers.

City networks and police agencies use WhatsApp to gather tips -- even pictures and videos --and communicate. The app was even credited recently by the European Society of Cardiology for its ability to enable Argentine ambulances to mobilize more quickly on heart attack treatment. But last week, a fake WhatsApp in the Google Play store -- known as a Zombie app -- infected mobile devices with adware, according to Digital Trends. It's waking up Android device security in a big way.

While the fake app has been taken down, the cyber scam is a concern with reports of a sharp increase in malware attacks to mobile devices -- in September, Avast reported cybersecurity threats to Android devices are up 40 percent. It's also a concern because Tech Republic reports that the Zombie WhatsApp may have infected more than 4 million devices.

Here are the three types of threats facing Android users that Avast says mobile device security managers should be aware of:

  • Rooters made up 22.8 percent of the threats. They spy on a user or steal their information by requesting or gaining root access.
  • Downloaders made up 22.76 percent of the threats. These are spam-based attacks that trick users into downloading a malicious application.
  • Fake apps accounted for 6.97 percent of the threats. They are downloaded and present users with advertisements that make cyber criminals money.

Tech Republic's Jack Wallen recommended the following (and other) Android device security strategies to secure Android devices:

  1. Install Android Device Manager that links the device with a Google account. This offers device owners a way to locate devices, reset lock screen PINs or even erase all device data.
  2. Install DuckDuckGo and use it for searches because it doesn't store or share personal information with advertisers. Note, it will save recent searches until the feature is disabled in the app settings (disable "Save Recents").
  3. Use the screen lock at all times.
  4. Use AppLock to lock apps that contain password sensitive data. This locks down individual apps with a password.
  5. Always install app updates.

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