The 100 most commonly hacked passwords of 2017 give a key insight into the human psyche, like how we’re not bothered to remember multiple complicated phrases. ‘123456’ and ‘password’ were named as the top two, while slightly more abstract words like ‘cheese’ and ‘whatever’ featured highly.
No matter your security, everyone has to be careful when it comes to password stealing apps on Android devices. The most cryptic ciphers mean nothing if your device has been compromised, and it can happen in a number of ways.
They’ve managed to crack better passwords than the ones listed above, so here’s how to stay one step ahead.
The Google Play Store simply doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to security. Trend Micro recently reported on 36 popular infected apps for a range of functions; including “scanning, removing junk, battery saving, cooling the CPU, locking apps, as well as message security and WiFi security.” Each worked as advertised, but also collected user data and pushed adverts out without saying they would do so.
Other malicious apps concentrate on getting account information, with Facebook passwords known to be particularly valuable for scammers. It’s an easy entry point to your network of friends, family, and co-workers. Researchers recently found malware in at least 56 utility apps on Android that work to steal your Facebook account, and it’s hard to tell the difference as they tend to work perfectly in the background.
The apps install the infected payload after you’ve approved admin permissions on your device, which only takes a few taps. Some then bring up a fake login page, which is where they take control of your account after you’ve entered the details.
Protect Yourself from Malicious Apps
If a hacker gains access to your personal account, you’re not the only one who’s at risk. There’s a chance that the hack will attempt to infect other devices within your network, while it’s likely to spam your friends and family more frequently than a LinkedIn update. If you find out that your account has been compromised, make sure to change the password as quickly as possible.
It’s easy to install infected APK (Android app) files onto your device from the internet, so try to stick to the Google Play Store when you can. It’s always tempting to get the latest paid apps for free from a third-party site, but there’s always a chance that it’s been stuffed full of malware too.
Whether you’re downloading from the Play Store or not, make sure to keep an eye on the source and the developer. Checking out app permissions is another smart way to keep an eye on just how much power an app has, while you can change the permissions at any given time within the settings.
Overall, the best way to protect yourself is to install antivirus software that can be trusted, so any infected files will be flagged and quarantined straight away.
You Need Antivirus Software for Your Android Phone
Apps have transformed day to day life, from movies and sport that can be accessed from anywhere, to utility functions like torches and alarms. The ‘walled garden’ model popularized by Apple made us less suspicious when it comes to downloading apps from the market in the past, but the Play Store isn’t firmly regulated, making it easier for malware to surface.
The Android Store is always going to be the main entry point for dangerous apps, as it’s the place to go to download files onto your phone. The hands-off approach by Google is one of the key differences between the two operating systems, as it’s much easier to develop and release an app for Android compared to Apple.
As the Play Store has fewer regulations compared to its iOS counterpart, it’s important to have some form of antivirus software as a form of defense against malicious apps on your Android device.
Antivirus software comes in various shapes and forms. Some are far more effective than others when it comes to providing protection, and they can have a varying impact on the overall performance, (and battery life) of your device.
Second rate software is often worse than malware, so you will have to be careful when picking the best option for your needs. Open-source software can be tempting, but you’ll have to be careful on the Wild West plains of the Android marketplace.
Always be Careful with Apps and Permissions
Malicious apps have continued to evolve in recent years. Primitive variations are generally easy enough to weed out, but the same can’t be said for the latest iterations that seem to be doing their job perfectly.
Pay close attention to what you’re downloading, and try to play it safe if you’re not too sure about the source of an app. They can’t always be trusted, but decent antivirus software should help to protect you from any apps that are aiming to steal your account information.