Another instance of what might happen if devices are not properly secured with the right security tools like antivirus software was revealed recently when a multitude of Android devices downloaded a number of “JUDY branded apps” available under “cooking and fashion” games categories respectively in Google Play. Nothing seemed wrong at first. In fact, the victims didn’t even realize they were being hacked until a recent research surprised them with its findings.
The JUDY malware, which is being estimated of having infected nearly 36.5 million Android phones, is basically an adware used for generating fraudulent clicks once it is installed on the victim’s device. As this ‘automated ad clicking’ happens in the background once the app is installed, the owners of the compromised device will hardly be aware of it. To them, it will appear as a simple cooking or fashion related app.
Google was informed about this malware last month and it acted swiftly and removed all the apps spreading the malware from its play store. But experts believe the damage has been done – as the malware has successfully infected several Android phones – and are worried sick that the developers of this malware might do something devastating like WannaCry ransomware has with those who have been infected.
The researchers are suggesting that the developers of JUDY might be linked with some black hat marketing companies operating out of countries like Africa, Russia, China and Singapore and it is being estimated that the hackers might have generated millions in revenue through this JUDY adware. No ransom demands have been reported by JUDY victims so far.
So How to Protect Your Device against Malware(s) like JUDY?
Here are some simple suggestions:
1. Install Antivirus Software: Antivirus protects your devices from various kinds of malware like ransomware, spyware, adware etc. A robust antivirus software package can offer solid resistance against the ever-evolving security threats. These days many free virus removal software(s) are available in the market for your devices. (Example: Android Antivirus for your Android phone). So getting one shouldn’t be a tough task.
2. Download Apps Only from Trusted Sources: Of course, you cannot get a more trustable source than Google Store which just served as the breeding ground for JUDY malware. But then it was just a one-off incident. So when downloading apps, always download them only from a trusted source. At least the odds of your device getting infected will be less.
3. Avoid Accessing Sensitive Information on Public Wi-Fi: These days, almost every coffee house has free public Wi-Fi. These insecure public Wi-Fi’s are probably the ‘Mecca for Hackers’, as they hold large amounts of data within a network which can be broken into easily. So stay away from public Wi-Fis at all costs.
4. Keep Your Phone Updated: Every update fixes a previous vulnerability. So keeping your phone updated is one cheap and easy way of securing it. Therefore the next time you get an update notification on your mobile, make sure you act immediately without any delay.
5. Password-protect Your Phone: It might seem like a simple thing to do; especially when we are talking about things like antivirus and updating your phone’s OS. And yet sometimes we end up ignoring it. Physical dangers that your phone is up against are as serious as the digital security threats you confront online. So make sure that even if your phone falls into the wrong hands, it does not get accessed that easily.