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Enhance your mobile security with ProtectCELL

Enhance your mobile security with ProtectCELL

3/7/2014

Smartphone owners love game apps. They provide endless, somewhat addictive, entertainment, as users try incessantly to beat their friends' high scores. As popular as some of these games are, they are not always as safe as many individuals presume them to be. Impostor apps, in particular, pose a dangerous threat to mobile users' security.

Fake Flappy Bird and the world of fraudulent game apps
Recently, Flappy Bird, the viral game phenomenon, was pulled from the market by its developer, who was concerned that its players were experiencing an "unexpected addiction," as noted by The Washington Post. This came as exciting news for malware developers, who quickly coded imitations of the game and put them on third-party app stores. These cybercriminals hope that Flappy Bird lovers will download their impostor apps, which would give them access to valuable personal data.

Flappy Bird is just one example of how malware coders are using popular games to lure smartphone users into their traps.

"We advise Android users (especially those who are keen to download the now "extinct" Flappy Bird app) to be careful when installing apps. Cybercriminals are constantly cashing in on popular games (like Candy Crush, Angry Birds Space, Temple Run 2 and Bad Piggies) to unleash mobile threats," stated Veo Zhang, mobile threats analyst at TrendLabs.

According to Zhang, many of the Flappy Bird impostor apps have the exact same appearance as the original game, making it difficult for smartphone owners to distinguish between the two. The malware embedded into the games could lead to the leakage of personal information, as developers gain access to users' phone numbers, carriers and Gmail addresses. Additionally, the coders design these apps to send texts to premium numbers, which results in unwanted phone bill charges.

How can you safeguard your data from malware developers?
Smartphone owners should keep an eye out for game apps that ask for permission to send SMS messages during installation. Also, if an app adds a payment feature to a game that was originally free, there is a good chance that it could contain malware.

In addition to knowing how to recognize unsafe game apps, smartphone users can protect their personal information with a comprehensive security program that goes beyond cell phone insurance. ProtectCELL's data protection plan enables individuals to back up important information like contact lists, texts and photos. Phone owners can also locate their device and erase personal information in the event that it is lost or stolen.

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