“Where’s my phone?”
In a blink of an eye, my home is suddenly flipped upside down—couch cushions overturned, drawers – askew and papers shuffled. After a few repeating buzzes I realize that it’s right under my nose. Relief floods my body. How could I last a day without my phone?
With the rise of social media, addictive games, and on-demand apps, our mobile devices have become an inextricable part of us, like an additional limb. But, while these devices provide great conveniences, they also can bring major headaches in the form of malware. Which is exactly what happened when a malicious app was used on the Android OS to conduct a denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) attack, called WireX.
DDoS attacks have been making headlines since the late 90’s, but most consumers wouldn’t even notice if their device was taking part of an attack. The WireX botnet (a collection of internet-connected devices) is one of the first and biggest Android DDoS attacks, which is a cause for concern for all mobile device owners, due to its ability to infiltrate the device you depend on so much. So how did the attack happen and what can you do to protect yourself?
The botnet was hidden behind some 300 apps that were made available in the official Google Play Store. When users installed the app, WireX conscripted the devices into a network, which then sent junk traffic to websites, in the hopes of bringing them down, like any other DDoS attack. So what makes this attack such a big deal?
Researchers saw 130k to 160k unique addresses involved in the attack, across the globe and it was so well hidden, it was hard for companies to defend against the attacks. Luckily, a group of companies were able to take down the botnet, allowing Google to remove the malicious apps from the marketplace and the infected devices.
So, what can you do to win the battle against attacks? Follow these tips:
- Think Before You Click: Does that app sounds a little too good to be true? Chances are, it is. Before downloading the app on your phone, make sure to read the reviews and see if others are flagging security inconsistencies.
- Stay In the Know: In addition to doing your research, make sure to keep your app at its tip-top security shape with the latest app updates.
- Be Picky: If you see an app with a bad rating, there’s likely another app that has the same functions. If it looks suspicious, it probably is.
- Right at the Root: Staying vigilant on the latest security threats could be a full-time job, so it doesn’t hurt to have a solution that protects you from mobile malware, like McAfee AntiVirus Plus. This all-inclusive feature also spans over multiple devices, giving you an extra layer of security.
When it comes to cybersecurity, it’s best to be proactive rather than reactive. Be sure to keep up to speed on the latest attacks and cybersecurity best practices.