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Thread: Beware free apps?

  1. Nice Guy
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    #1

    Beware free apps?

    Take a look at Beware: Free Apps Might Prove Costly - IEEE - The Institute

    You might want to think twice the next time you download a free app to your smartphone. That app could be riddled with malware able to steal information stored on your phone, according to IEEE Fellow Jeffrey Voas. It pays to be extra cautious now, Voas says, because mobile hacking is on the rise, with free apps possibly the most popular tool for gaining access.

    Recent research by Voas, a computer scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Gaithersburg, Md., and his team of researchers found malware in more than 2000 free smartphone apps. The malware can infiltrate your phone’s operating system and cause all kinds of trouble, including stealing personal data.

    “Of all the free mobile applications we researched, about 1 in 100 visibly contained malware—and that doesn’t even account for the ones where the malware is so hidden it’s impossible to spot,” Voas says. “The number of malware-contaminated apps is growing by the day, and with most of the apps offering good functionality for free, it’s easy to be victimized.”

    Voas used a variety of detection tools—some commercial and others home-grown—which scan an app’s source code and binaries for malware. He and his coresearchers scanned about 280 000 free Android apps. Voas says he was not surprised by what they found. “I expected we would find malware in around 1 percent of the apps.” he says. “But we might have missed a lot because the detection tools we have access to need more work.”

    He goes on to say that all you can really do is to get free apps from a source you can trust and look at the permissions. He's ignoring paid apps; I guess because he figures that a paid app developer won't add malware. No mention any anti-virus apps.

    Just making a comment. I agree that you need to use common sense when installing apps, but is it really as bad as he says?
    Last edited by aaf709; 02-28-2012 at 12:00 PM.
  2. Master Droid
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    It would seem that many apps, free or paid have the ability to become malware and data mine for their own or someone else nefarious uses. I don't know how to respond, other than I know the risks and try to keep my financial info off my phone other than the common Google Market, Amazon, etc.

    The future is bright for techno thiefs and dirty marketing companies that put out oodles of spam to our spam boxes.
    Riding the information superhighway, next exit Droidforums.net

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