Fake Anti-Virus for Android Is Very Real Malware
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Anti-virus protection is a fake cover for a very real Trojan in a newly discovered type of Android malware.
Discovered by Russian anti-virus company Doctor Web, the malware enters phones' systems via in-app advertisements claiming to offer free virus scans.
Accepting the offer will prompt users to download a program that purports to be anti-virus software, but is actually a program called Android.Fakealert.4.origin, a malicious Trojan.
If users install the malware, the fake anti-virus interface will output a warning that a virus has been detected, using flashy red buttons and fake "scan results" to convince mobile owners that their device is at risk. The malware will then prompt users to buy the full anti-virus package by entering their credit-card information.
[See also: 10 Tips To Keep Your Android Phone Safe]
It's a classic scare-tactic swindle modified for the mobile age: By trying to guard against one threat, you've actually fallen prey to another.
Being tricked into buying fraudulent anti-virus software for a nonexistent virus is a scam that has long plagued Windows users. Considering Android malware more than doubled worldwide in 2012, it was only a matter of time before it started plaguing Android as well.
Apple devices are less prone to viruses because the company keeps a tighter leash on its app store.
What can you do to keep your phone clean of these and similar frauds? In Doctor Web's full report on its findings, the company urges users to "be more skeptical about various ads displayed by applications."
Don't download anything that doesn't come straight from the Google Play store, and even then, check reviews and feedback to be sure you're getting a good product.