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NQ Mobile Security & Antivirus

Extrapolating these numbers out to Android users in general would imply tens of thousands are infected by spyware. Spyware is also far more dangerous than most other malware, both for the data it collects and the nature of the attacker. The apps we reviewed could capture almost every aspect of what we do on our devices, including recording of calls, remote camera image capture, downloading of SMS messages, downloading of photos and videos, downloading of contacts, remote microphone activation, and tracking websites visited — all while hiding themselves in the background to avoid detection.

And since these apps require physical access to your phone to be installed, the attacker is likely a spouse, significant other or employer. For victims, the power this access provides to an abusive or controlling spouse or vindictive employer can have a devastating impact on their lives. Read the comments from readers in our March story on mobile spyware to get a picture of what these victims are going through. In speaking to security vendors about the results, we uncovered two flaws that contributed to the poor results.

1. NetQin Mobile Antivirus

The results, generally speaking, were dismal. Of twelve products I tested, none was able to detect more than two-thirds of the samples. Many missed half or more of the spyware apps. And, surprisingly, the potential spyware apps least likely to be detected were those widely available in Google Play. I was able to easily install spyware on an iPhone 3GS, with essentially the same functions as on an Android phone.

The only difference between the iOS process and that of Android was that I was required to jailbreak the iPhone modifying the operating system to get past the built-in security controls first. Nonetheless, the full process took less than an hour. However, the iOS app from Lookout did warn that the iPhone was jailbroken—a pretty clear indicator something may be up with your phone. BlackBerries using operating systems older than BB10 are susceptible to the same spying risks. Read my recommendations below for advice on how to protect yourself. Across the board, overall performance was far lower than I expected.

In any other malware detection testing, this would be considered dismal. While the app is still available in Google Play, you should not download it as neither the app nor malware definitions are being kept up to date. Each has been around for quite some time years in many cases , and has either been reported in the media or is easily available via a Google Search.

Plus, each app tested was already flagged by at least one security vendor as malware. And, counter-intuitively, the spyware apps that were most likely to be missed were those that are either currently available in Google Play or were in the past. So why the poor showing? I spoke to representatives from half of the anti-malware companies included in the test and there seems to be a fundamental disconnect between how they identify which apps categories to focus on and where the real risks lie for U.

First, there seems to a strong bias by security vendors especially those based outside the U. The problem is that most U. And since spyware programs are usually downloaded directly from individual vendors, not through an app store, these products are missed entirely by many security vendors. Since, the argument goes, PUAs require someone to manually install it and agree to the terms, and since PUAs could have legally valid uses, such as parental tracking, employee monitoring with, presumably, informed consent or tracking down a phone thief, these apps are not included in the threat databases, regardless of how dangerous they could be in the wrong hands.

The presumption of valid use is a major pitfall to proper detection of threats. A more robust approach for security companies would be to identify PUAs during scans as potential malware so users can make their own determination about whether the app is wanted or not. I spoke to many of the security vendors after the testing about the results for their product.

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Reactions were mixed. Most I spoke with showed a desire to develop a more robust methodology. Others, clung to the notion that potentially legitimate apps should not generate warnings—hopefully, shedding some sunlight on this topic will cause them to reconsider their position.

Many of the anti-malware programs performed well in overall anti-malware testing from anti-malware testing lab AV-TEST, yet did poorly in my spyware-specific tests. How did these programs get such high detection rates when they seemed to be largely ignoring the spyware threat? The reason became obvious when I looked more deeply into the methodology. If malware makes it for example into the Google Play Store it will usually be removed after a few days. Also if an anti-virus vendor detects a certain malware sample, it is usually shared with other vendors so that in a few days most users are protected from this malware sample So testing [old malware] would give a false impression of the real protection level, where protecting against relatively new samples counts.

Some vendors decided to not detect those as they are not necessarily a threat The question is where do these apps cross the line? And this is very difficult to say. Else we would hurt certain vendors that deliberately decided to not detect those apps for good reasons. In short, the industry is broken when it comes to spyware.

The result — protection rankings that don't reflect the true risks faced by U. To keep your phone from being compromised, always use a strong password on your lock screen one that a potential spy close to you wouldn't guess. Given the poor showing from all of the anti-malware vendors, Android owners concerned about spyware on their phones should use a combination of security apps to scan.

I would recommend Webroot SecureAnywhere, which did a better job than most at finding spyware apps from Google Play though it did a poor job elsewhere , plus either Avast! For the purposes of spyware detection, paid apps showed no benefit over free apps and, in general, actually performed worse. While there is no way for iPhone owners to directly scan for spyware, installing spyware on an iPhone requires the phone to be jailbroken.

So a security app like Lookout Security that warns if your iPhone is jailbroken will do the trick.


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A jailbroken iPhone can be fixed by upgrading to the latest iOS release. Jailbreaking the iPhone was not required. Fortunately, those holes have been patched in iOS 8.

NQ Mobile Security

BlackBerry owners are mostly out of luck. Your best bet if you suspect you are being spied on is to do a factory reset of your phone. Similar to BlackBerry, if you strongly suspect your Windows phone may have been compromised, a factory reset will likely resolve the issue. The following nine applications that have the potential to be used as spyware were tested. The chart lists the commercial name, the app name that will appear in the running apps list and whether or not the app is available through Google Play or, to the best of my knowledge, was formerly available.

No indication apps have been ignored. Ignore reset buried in separate menu. One they provided, Mobile Spy, was actually not picked up by their scan. This may be due to two spyware apps sharing a similar name or Sophos detecting an earlier version. For my study, I chose to define spyware as apps which capture significant information about an individual that could be used for tracking, monitoring and…well…spying.

All of the apps I tested could be remotely controlled by a third party and deliver purloined content to them via a web interface, email or text message.

Mobile Security Apps Perform Dismally against Spyware - Techlicious

While features varied, all the apps I tested performed highly intrusive monitoring, including recording of calls, remote camera image capture, downloading of SMS messages, downloading of photos and videos, downloading of contacts, remote microphone activation, and recording and tracking of websites visited. Spyware apps, not surprisingly, also do an excellent job at hiding themselves. Most showed no icon on the list of phone apps. The only way to find them was to look in the list of running apps within the Android settings menu.

Even there, the apps often attempted to disguise themselves with names that sounded like system processes e. Some security vendors I spoke with objected to the inclusion of apps such as MobiUcare available in Google Play in the test group on the grounds they are intended for the legitimate purpose of finding a lost or stolen phone. And they're right — MobiUcare could be used for legitimate purposes.

However, its ability to track location, remotely record audio and take photos without the user being aware, and hide the app icon from the app drawer also make it a candidate for malicious spying. So, I contacted customer support via chat, email that they didn't answer , and chat again, and their answer was that there is no problem, but I still can't locate my phone, so how do I'm going to" trust" and app that doesn't do what it is supposed to do,and when I was asking for help the support staff didn't have a clue about what was going on.

I did a good research before I decided to buy this app because I lost my phone 2 weeks ago during the MWC , I bought a new one and I wanted it "Protected" ,and NQ Mobile had the security features I was looking for,but what do you do with a good software if you don't have a technical support staff with the expertise to give a solution to the users?

Well, I'll keep my phone locked,I'll encrypt everything that can be encrypt,encrypted, I will run scheduled backups as often as possible, and last but no least I'll not recommend this app at all. Most people think only that their computer needs to be protected.

Remember you new mobile devise. You Smart phone, Tablet or whatever. They are what the evil people are now targeting there software at not computers. Computer are o the way out with what are becoming the computers of the future. Now it's time for you to protect your investments in mobile hardware with this security program.

It warns you ahead of time about Malicious Sites. It also allows you to backup your contacts to their Cloud. If that isn't enough there is an option to ALERT via text or phone if your device is stolen and an attempt is made to modify the data. It also closes apps that aren't being used to extend battery life. Ir a Amazon.


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