As another school year begins, staff and students will be bringing their educational tools like laptops, tablets and smart phones into the schools and classrooms. They will as well be using the Internet and sharing files as always. The last statement is what opens the door for trouble if they haven’t protected these computing and communications devices.
For example, a virulent malware called Gingerbread has been spreading to Android smartphones. This virus is a root kit that gives hackers full access to any information on an Adroid smartphone.
As for the Apple iOS, If malware does infect your iOS device, chances are you will not even realize it. Some Mac malware is not so subtle and has fake virus alerts such as Mac Defender. Unfortunately, if you were to suspect your device was infected with malware, there is no way to detect or remove it easily because Apple does not allow scanning anti-virus software in the Apple Store. Just this summer, an application in the Apple Store was discovered to have a Windows variant malware in one of the applications in the store. So check out the anti-malware resources for the Mac iOS listed below.
On the Windows side of things, one of the most sophisticated new forms of malware is one called Flame or sKyWIper. It can record audio, keyboard activity, network traffic and take screenshots. The program can also record Skype conversations and can turn infected computers into Bluetooth beacons which attempt to download contact information from nearby Bluetooth-enabled devices. Microsoft has provided a patch for this in its security updates so be sure you do your Windows Updates.
Knowing that malware is increasing in sophistication and that it is frequently spread through USB drives and file sharing, make sure you run some kind of anti-malware solution on all of your computing and communications devices. A sample of some of the solutions that are free include:
Smartphones and Tablets:
- AVG Free Antivirus (Android Smartphones)
- Lookout (Android and iOS Smartphones and Tablets)
- Norton Mobile Security (Android Smartphones)
Laptops and Desktops:
- AVG Free Antivirus (Windows)
- Best Free Antivirus for Mac (Article with links to software)
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free (Windows)
And last but not least, make sure you do your OS and application updates to ensure a trouble free year of computing and communications.