Mobilekd.com – your device is infected pop-up

I recently encountered another misleading pop-up alert saying that my Android device is infected. I just clicked on a link and it immediately took me to mobilekd.com with the fake pop-up message. The screen shot is here:

The page at ‘http://mobilekd.com’ says:
[Date] ALERT! Your [Device model] is INFECTED. Please INSTALL to continue.

It’s a simple JavaScript file that identifies device model and displays it in the fake pop-up, probably to make it look more realistic and trick users into downloading malicious or useless software from untrusted sources. If you got the same message do not click on the pop-up box or anywhere in it. Just close it or hit back button. If you haven’t noticed any unusual activity on your phone or tablet then you are most likely fine. However, if you think that something could have been installed without your interaction then perform a scan with free antivirus app, keep an eye on your account and just in case , change your password. But as I said if you haven’t noticed any weird activity then your phone or tablet is probably fine.

In case you are constantly getting fake mobilekd.com pop-ups on your phone or tablet, go to device’s Settings menu > Apps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device). Uninstall apps that may display these pop-ups. Most likely, your device is infected with adware.

‘Check your Android NOW for a Virus!’ pop-ups and intrusive ads

‘Check your Android NOW for a Virus!’ is a fake pop-up message trying to trick you into downloading some fishy apps, very often from places other than the Google Play. Most of the these are just annoying ads for questionable apps but keep in mind that they can also redirect you to exploit kits that may install malware on your phone or tablet. Don’t take the risk and close such fake message immediately or press back button.

check your android now for a virus

Internet is full of such false ‘antivirus check’ pages, which push you to supposedly scan your phone for malware or install useless apps, for example free system cleaners that will later display more ads on your device. Such fake message can come from websites and apps but if you have been getting them for a couple of days or even weeks then your Android device is probably infected with some sort of adware. However, it this happens on a particular website only then report the issue to webmasters and clear browser cache. Open web browser, go to Settings > Privacy and Security and then tap Clear cache (this may differ depending on your device).

If you still get the ‘Check your Android NOW for a Virus!’ message then there’s probably an app on your phone that displays it. If so, go to device’s Settings menu > Apps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device). Touch the app you’d like to uninstall. If you can’t decide if it is a legitimate app, search in Google play and search in Google for reviews.

You could also scan your phone with antivirus app to make sure no malicious apps were side-loaded from untrusted sources. If none of this helps, you can always reset your phone to factory settings. This will delete all your personal data and apps from the phone, so make sure your important data is backed up.

False positive from Avast Mobile Security labeled genuine apps as malware

Lots of Avast Mobile Security users were getting false warnings about Trojans and Potentially Unwanted Programs, such as Android:SMSSend-DC[trj], Android:Gappusin-CD [Trj], Android:GinMaster-ABD [Trj], Android:GinMaster-CO[Trj], ELF:Lootor-C [PUP] on their mobile phones and tablets. Don’t worry, it’s an Avast problem, your device is not infected. It was confirmed by one of the Avast support members here.

unfortunatelly wrong virus definitions have been released for a brief amount of time. We are working on a fix and once it is released, I’ll let you know (so you can manually check for updates and don’t have to wait for the automatic process to kick in).

false avast mobile security

As you can see, Avast Mobile Security falsely detected Android system files and apps like Google Plus as malware. Some users couldn’t user their phones properly because of of the false warnings Avast was constantly giving. The Avast team released a fix a few hours ago. If you are still getting those false warnings, please update Avast manually.

Open Avast Mabile Security -> Settings -> Update -> and tap “Check for updates” to receive working definitions version 140109-01. You may still see “Malware found” on dashboard for some time after updating but it will clear itself once all the apps are re-scanned.

There’s no need to uninstall the app.

Important: hackers sometimes try to exploit such false positive and may offer “solutions” for the problem. For example, by using shady techniques, hackers manages to get infected webpages high in the search rankings if you hunt for information on the Avast Mobile Security false positive, including falsely reported malware names, let’s say Android:SMSSend-DC[trj].

Fake boostyourwifi.com pop-up ads and virus warnings on Android

Today I found a few more websites that display fake pop-up ads and virus warnings on Android devices, one of them is boostyourwifi.com. It uses almost exactly the same method as lovelinks.us but the fake scanner pages are a lot more sophisticated. They clearly try to mimic antivirus apps.

The first fake virus warning page says that your Android might be at serious risk. It supposedly scanned your Android device and found 3 viruses in the system folder and 3 more in downloaded files folder. It also found 5 apps that are probably malicious. Scan results are completely false. Besides, this fake virus scanner lists the same number of infections for every single visitor which means it doesn’t actually scan the device.

boostyourwifi-com

Here’s the second one, titled Android Mobile Security, warns you that your phone’s memory is running low. Only 8% left. To solve the issue it recommends you to install some kind of antivirus app.

boostyourwifi memory low

The third fake warning asks you if your phone is running slow and reports once again you are running out of memory. Recommendation is the same – download antivirus app.

boostyourwifi android slow

And the last warning says that your Android is running low on memory. Only 8% left, install recommend app to clean your phone.

android running low

All these pop-ups and fake scanners promote an app called Clean Master. It’s available on Google Play and it’s free. Developer is KS Mobile. The app has lots of downloads, likes and positive reviews. Maybe it’s a good app, I don’t know. But the way it is being promoted makes me skeptical about this app. Of course, those who promote apps in such a shady way can redirect users to random apps. Today it’s a Clean Master, tomorrow could be something else. Be careful and choose wisely what to install on your Android phone or tablet. Sometimes pop-ups and fake scanners appear only on certain websites. If so, then there’s nothing to worry about. But if this has been happening again and again then it’s an adware issue. In such case, you need to uninstall suspicious apps from your device and run an antivirus app.

How to remove lovelinks.us pop-up ads on your phone and tablet

If you start seeing pop-up advertisements from lovelinks.us on your mobile phone or tablet then it could be that it’s infected with adware. There are quite a few pop-up ads, one of them says “WARNING! Your battery is too heat!” and another one says that your mobile device is infected.

(1) Virus Found

Download, Install, & Run a Complete Threat Scan Now.

lovelink.us pop-up

One more saying that you supposedly need to update your app store.

Warning!!! Your APP store need update immediately.

lovellinksus-fake-update

All these pop-ups are fake. A simple web page can not scan your phone or tablet for viruses and it certainly can not check battery temperature. If you got any of these, simply close the pop-up or press the back button. Sometimes the pop-ups appear only on certain websites. If so, then there’s nothing to worry about. But if this has been happening again and again then it’s an adware issue.

Lovelinks.us pop-ups offer different apps for different users. It can be apps from Google Play or from third party websites. Most of the time, it offers Android cleaners, Ram Booster and battery saving apps but it could be a ransom app from other stores too. From what I’ve seen so far none of these apps can actually make your phone or table run better or save battery life. Besides, very often such apps are free for a reason – then display ads. As far as I know only Android users are getting lovelinks.us pop ups. Please correct me if I’m wrong. It’s very unlikely that iPhones could be targeted as well.

To remove the pop-up ads you need to uninstall an app or apps you’ve installed around the time that they started. Let’s say a wallpaper app or maybe a game. Go to device’s Settings menu > Apps or Application manager (this may differ depending on your device). Touch the app you’d like to uninstall. It might be a good idea to scan your device with antivirus app. Choose one from Google Play or download from the official site. Most of them are free.

Antivirus apps available on Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/search?q=antivirus&c=apps

Controlling the Privacy Settings on your iPhone

More and more of us are wising up to the problems that can be caused by having our computers hacked or from being the victim of browser jacking or identity theft caused by malicious software but how many of us stop to think about the damage that could be caused via our smartphones? We’re so used to our smartphones that we take it as granted that we can connect to the internet, use online apps and download our emails –amongst a myriad of other things – and it wasn’t so long ago that we only used our cell phones for making phone calls and sending SMS messages, so how did we get so blasé and forget to take smartphone security into account too?

iPhone privacy settings

iPhone privacy settings

In 2012 it was revealed that a smartphone social network, who shall remain nameless here, was guilty of ‘unexpected data handling’ and that they were storing their users’ contact lists on their servers. They were not the only ones either so it is crucial that we know exactly what access apps that we’ve installed have to our phones. And it goes without saying that we should also be able to take control of that access via our smartphone’s settings.

Luckily one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers, Apple, agrees with that and since iOS 6 was released Apple give users more ability to control their permissions and settings. To access the privacy controls simply go to your iPhone or iPad’s ‘Settings’ and choose ‘Privacy’.

Here, instead of listing all applications that you have installed Apple examines individual requests from the apps and places them in this section to allow you to easily see who is requesting access to what.

Top of the list is perhaps the most obvious one: Location Services. As you know an awful lot of apps need to know where you are in order to work properly and therefore you may want to leave the setting on overall. You will find the option to disable Location Services but then you’ll find that you won’t be getting updated weather reports or you won’t be able to use any app that works by finding nearby people, restaurants or hotels on a map. Similarly trying to pinpoint your location will be impossible if you’re traveling. Having said this, there are a lot of apps that don’t actually need to know your whereabouts, so feel free to turn Locations Services off individually for these.

At the bottom of the Location Services screen you will see a menu called ‘System Services’. If you choose this you’ll see a number of options including ‘Location-Based iAds’. What this does is allow apps you’ve installed to show you adverts targeted to your location. Pretty annoying, huh? Disable this option and whilst you might still receive the odd advert which has sneaked through it should at least limit them.

It probably goes without saying that some of the most personal information stored on your iPhone is in your photo albums and in your address books and calendars so this is where you really need to make sure your phone’s security is not letting third parties access anything and it is well worth going through them all one by one. Just like Location Services you will find the names of the apps requesting access under the relevant sub menus and just like Location Services, stopping access could have an effect on the usability of the app e.g. your contact list might be linked to an instant messenger so if you turn off access you may disable the app. It all depends how important your privacy is to you.

If you’ve downloaded an application that wants to access Bluetooth this will show under ‘Bluetooth Sharing’. There might not actually be many apps that do use Bluetooth but Apple’s Passbook does. If you don’t use Passbook, not a problem, you can simply turn off the Bluetooth access for the app without this affecting the actual Bluetooth function which you will still be able to use.

Lastly there is social networking to consider. The majority of us probably have Facebook, Twitter et al downloaded on our smartphones and if so you should see that these are listed at the bottom of the Privacy screen. Contrary to what some users may think, these are not shortcuts to your account but if you take a look in the sub menus for each you will see a list of any apps that are asking to access the information stored in your social networking account.

Of course if you access your Pinterest account with your Twitter log-in, for example, this will make sense – many social networking applications work in conjunction with one another but if you see something you don’t use, don’t recognize or simply don’t want to have access, as with other apps, simply disallow access for those you don’t wish to have access all areas.

Avoid Overage Charges by Setting Mobile Data Limits on Android and iOS

Did you know that it’s not just our desk top computers and laptops that can be vulnerable to viruses and malicious software (usually shortened to malware) attacks but now that the majority of us are using smartphones even our humble cell phone could fall victim to a fake or rogue app, unwanted software, or malware. And if one of these unscrupulous and undesirable programs has installed itself on your cell phone not only can this seriously compromise your security and invade your privacy but it could be costing you money too.

As our technology grows ever more portable and we have new ways of being connected to the world, hackers and cyber criminals are rejoicing in the fact that they now have even more ways to attack us and earn a fast buck. Therefore it’s important to make sure you know what should and shouldn’t be on your phone and to know approximately how much data usage your activities normally add up to. This way you’ll be able to spot unusual activity quickly and nip any infection in the bud.

If your data usage has suddenly sky rocketed and you are using way more than you normally do then you should be suspicious. Extra usage means extra fees so make sure you aren’t paying for something you’re not using by setting data limits which will keep you routinely up to date with regards to how much data you are using as well as avoiding excess costs.

Here we take a look at two different types of cell phone operating systems and tell you how you can set your data limits.

Android 4.x

First of all make sure that you check your tariff or your data plan. If you set a limit this will NOT include Wi-Fi data, therefore you need to be sure that it will reflect your SIM or tariff allowance limit with accuracy.

Next go to your phone’s ‘Settings’ and under the ‘Wireless & Networks’ category select ‘Data Usage’.

In ‘Data Usage’ select ‘Data Usage Cycle’ and then choose the date range that you want to set the usage cycle to. To make it easier to stay in control we suggest you set the date range on your cell to the same range as your period of billing.

Next drag the orange line on the right hand side of the graph to a level that you feel best reflects your data usage. This will set your data usage warning. What this means is that if and when your data usage meets that level, you will be sent a notification.

If you would prefer to be even more in control and want to set a specific data limit you need to check the ‘Set Mobile Data Limit’ box. Hit ‘OK’ when the dialog box appears. Next drag the red line over the graph from the right to the point where you want to set that limit.

When the limit has been reached you will be notified and your cell will cease to use mobile data. It will still use Wi-Fi when it is available and if you do want to use mobile data you do have the option of overriding the data usage limit.


One slight issue to be aware of is that sometimes your phone and the network’s records may not be completely in sync so some inaccuracies may occur. In general you will be much better protected if you set data warnings and limits but you might want to set the warning and limit levels slightly below your actual limits just to further ensure that your data is not being abused by an unscrupulous third party.

iOS

Now, the bad news for all you iPhone or iPad users is that as of this date, Apple has not enabled a means of setting data warnings or limits on your device. This doesn’t mean that you can’t still keep an eye on your data usage however and you should still make it a point to check for any suspicious spikes in usage.

To check the levels of data usage on your Apple iPhone or other iOS device go to ‘Settings’ select ‘General’ and then choose ‘Usage’. Scroll down to the bottom of the page where you will see details of your data usage. It would be good practice to get into the habit of checking this on a regular basis just so that if you do see anything unusual you can take steps to prevent somebody else from using your data.

Whichever side of the operating system fence you fall on: Android v. iOS make sure that you are protecting your data – and your hard earned cash!

Smartphone Security – Best Practices

When you think of computer viruses you probably only think about your laptop or PC, right? But these days with so many of us owning smartphones, hackers are starting to take note and malicious software (malware) that specifically attacks mobile operating systems is starting to become a real issue for users – and big business for hackers.

Malware for phones is every bit as advanced as the viruses that target our computers so this is something that many of us really do need to be aware of. The one piece of good news is that Apple products – i.e. the iPhone and the iPad – have so far escaped being targets of malware thanks to Apple exercising very strict control over which applications are allowed into their app store, although it’s a case of never say never.

Unfortunately for users of Android smartphones there are literally thousands of viruses that have been created to attack or hijack these mobile devices. Most of the apps on the official Google Play site are malware free, as is the Amazon app store, for those who use the Kindle. Google and Amazon are proactive in seeking out malware and will delete them from their stores if discovered.

So how can Android users protect themselves from malware and what are the knock-on effects? Well, just like its computer virus counterpart, mobile malware has been designed to secretly infect your phone or tablet and chances are you’ll have no idea that you’re downloading it as it will be packaged hiding behind a genuine app that you have downloaded. Even the creators of the app may have no idea that their app has been bundled with malware as the apps will have been hacked and malicious code added to them.

So what will happen if you’ve unwittingly downloaded a legitimate app that has had malware added to it? In one instance, you may have been registered to an SMS/text messaging service which will send you messages at a premium rate thus costing you money which goes straight in the pockets of the hackers. Let’s say that the malware is hidden inside a game that you downloaded. Every time you complete a new level or solve a puzzle a new SMS message will be added to your bill for that month, so innocently whiling away your time by playing a fun (and highly addictive!) game, could actually be costing you money.

Just like PC-based malware, there are also those nasty viruses that contain ‘keyloggers’ which monitor your keyboard usage to then steal your log-ins, passwords, credit card details and other important personal information and sell them onto third parties who will commit bank fraud or even identity theft.

So how do you protect yourself from being attacked when all you want to do is use your phone?! Well just as you probably wouldn’t even consider not installing antivirus software on your computer, you should also think about installing it on your phone or tablet too. There’s now a wide range of antivirus protection available for Android mobile devices – luckily for us (and them!) with the increase in mobile malware, the security software companies have spotted the obvious gap in the market for the antidote: mobile security software.

So who should install mobile security software on their smartphone? For the time being Apple users are probably perfectly safe, so if you have an iPhone or iPad there’s not currently any cause for concern – providing that your phone isn’t jailbroken and you download apps from other places as well as from the Apple store. But what about Android users? If downloading apps isn’t your thing and you only really use your phone for talking, texting, emailing and browsing the internet you’re probably fine to give antivirus software a miss. However, for those of you who like to download apps you need to be a little more careful, especially if you have children who love to download them left, right and centre!

The good news is that you’ll have no issues using the bigger, better known apps; Facebook, Kindle, Gmail and other commonly used applications are vetted and protected. Oh and that includes Angry Birds too for all you addicts! Apps that you have to pay for are generally safe too but what you should definitely avoid doing is downloading apps from third party app stores as their security checks are not as vigilant as those of Google Play and Amazon.

Another thing to be aware of is if a free app is new. Wait for at least a month before downloading it and before you do, check how many other people have downloaded and rated it. Also, just as you should check the EULA – the End User Licence Agreement – carefully when downloading software on your computer, you should do the same when downloading apps on your smartphone or tablet.

What is the app asking you? If it’s requesting that it can send, receive or access your text messages or it wants access to other parts of your phone such as your address book, then take a moment to stop and consider whether the app in question would need those things. If in doubt, don’t download and for extra peace of mind install some mobile antivirus software.