The FBI is warning Android smartphones users to beware of Malware attacks.
At the University of Maryland, everywhere you turn, students have their smartphones within arm’s reach.
Student Scola Muriuki admits it’s her source for music, email, Internet and games.
“I download applications like every single day,” she said.
But the FBI says Malware attacks are being traced to Android phones.
According to Robert Maxwell of the school’s Office of Information Technology Security team, the risk is great.
“The android operating system offers an easier opportunity because it allows you to side load apps, which is to say, download the application program from anywhere and install it on your phone,” Maxwell explained.
Officials are warning smartphones users of two types of malware bugs - Loozfon and FinFisher.
Regarding the Loozfon, Maxwell says, “the Web site also sends the application to the phone. Then that piece of software runs on the users phone, stealing information about the contacts and users phones numbers and uploading them back to the people who's responsible for this.”
Then there’s the FinFisher.
“Once FinFisher is installed it allows whoever is taking over the phone to control the various functions of the phone,” Maxwell added.
For Muriuki, all this news came as a surprise.
“It's scary because not many people know about that,” she said.
To avoid the pitfalls, experts say use common sense.
“So if someone is trying to give you an iPad for 48 cents or they're offering to pay you tens of dollars for sending one email, and that should send up red flags right away,” Maxwell said.
Armand Kanatano didn’t want to take any chances, so he downloaded a malware protection app.
“I hope it's going to prevent any hacking,” Kanatano said.
It’s also a good idea to back-up important contacts and information that’s stored on your phone, and to set-up a password and a screen-lock feature for added protection.