How to keep malware, spyware away from your cellphone

As technology continues to grow, so does the awareness for protecting you and your mobile devices from scammers. Your Better Business Bureau offers precautions you can take to protect yourself.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a task force including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National White Collar Crime Center and Bureau of Justice Assistance, issued a warning recently telling Android mobile users to beware of malware and spyware. Specifically, it warned people about Loozfon, an information-stealing malware. Criminals use different variants to lure victims. One version is a work-at-home opportunity, promising a profitable payday just for sending out e-mail. A link within these advertisements leads to a Web site designed to push Loozfon on the user’s device. The malicious application steals contact details from the user’s address book and the infected device’s phone number.

IC3 also warned people about FinFisher, a spyware capable of taking over mobile device components. When installed, the mobile device can be remotely controlled and monitored no matter where the target’s located. FinFisher can be easily transmitted when the user visits a specific weblink or opens a text message.

Your BBB offers these cell phone tips:

• Know how malware and spyware work and can affect your device. Don’t open suspicious e-mails or texts.

• Be skeptical of e-mail or text messages from unknown senders. Don’t click on links or reply to messages from a network or e-mail that isn’t secure or trustworthy. Delete them if they’re not.

• Make sure your phone applications are up-to-date. If you think you’ve clicked on a questionable link, run a full virus scan immediately.

• Be wary connecting to unknown wireless servers or visiting unfamiliar Web sites.

• Turn off geo-location, which tracks the user’s location.

• Use passcodes on your mobile device and enable screen-lock features after inactivity.

• Know your device features, including the default settings, and turn off those you don’t need.

• Use encryption if it’s available for your mobile device’s operating system.

• Reset or wipe the device to avoid leaving personal data on it if you decide to sell or trade it in.

If you’ve been a victim of an Internet scam or have received an e-mail you believe is a scam, then file a complaint at www.ic3.gov. You can also contact your BBB by visiting www.bbb.org or calling (937) 222-5825 or (800) 776-5301.

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