1. anon(8526144)'s Avatar
    This question is not specific to an Atrix HD but I'm hoping someone can answer my question. Awhile back, maybe 2 months ago, my Granddaughter who lives about 400 miles from me got some kind of malware/ransom ware on her phone, a HTC. I told her not to pay and since she was eligible to get a new phone I told her to go and see if they could fix her phone or just get a new one. I heard from my daughter recently and was told that this "malware" just went away. I am very skeptical about this and am now afraid to call or text my granddaughter. My question is can this malware/ransomeware get onto my phone via a phone call or text message? I am very security conscious and at this point am afraid to call or text her. Any answers, suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
    04-24-2016 06:43 PM
  2. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Welcome back! I moved this to the Android Security Talk forum, which I thought would be more appropriate.

    I haven't heard of any malware that can cause immediate problems simply via texting. Some malware might be transmitted using a link in a text, but that requires you to tap that link, and then probably agree to install some file or app that is malicious--so if you make sure never to tap on unknown links in suspicious texts, you should be ok.

    There have been a couple of specific character strings that when sent via text can cause the messaging app to freeze (this has been demonstrated on both Android phones and iPhones), but this is not malware per se.

    It's hard to know what kind of malware your daughter may have had on her phone. Sometimes it's just an annoying popup ad that appears when browsing specific websites, with messages that try to care the user into thinking they have a virus. The popup urges the user to install some bogus antivirus app to get rid of the virus, but this "antivirus app" is actually malicious itself. So without further details, it's difficult to speculate if there's really any risk at all.
    04-25-2016 12:40 AM
  3. anon(8526144)'s Avatar
    Thanks B Ditty for your prompt response. I'm somewhat relieved after reading your comments, but am super cautious when it comes to computer and phone security. I don't think the malware was a pop up on my granddaughter's phone. It more or less froze her phone and I worked with her via her Mother's phone to try to restart the phone and see if that worked, but she had no success with that. Both her and her Mom are pretty much computer/cell phone challenged and it's difficult to try to help them long distance. When I finally heard from my daughter and asked about my granddaugher's phone, that is did they get her a new phone, she told me that this problem just went away so there entered my worry about security. I do worry that something is still on her phone and I will try to get her to install a security app like Avast or another one so she can scan her phone. Not sure if that will help but it certainly can't hurt. Is there a specific security app that you recommend for Android phones? I use Avast on mine and that's whey I mentioned it above. Also can you have more than one security app in use on your phone or is it like a computer where two anti-virus programs cannot work on one computer? Again thanks for your reply. If anyone else has comments or suggestions on this I would greatly appreciate to hear your suggestions, comments and thoughts. JD
    04-25-2016 01:21 PM
  4. B. Diddy's Avatar
    Here's what I usually tell people about malware:

    For the most part, it's still quite difficult to get an actual virus on your phone, because malware requires you to manually accept the installation (which is why they try to fool you into thinking you're installing something legitimate). Use common sense:


    1. Avoid shady websites that deal with things like porn, gambling, and "free" (aka pirated) apps/music/movies.


    2. Never ever tap on a link that appears in a popup while browsing, especially if they're warning you that your phone is infected--they're just trying to scare you into installing some bogus "antivirus" app that is probably malicious itself.


    3. Only install apps from well-established app sources like Google Play Store or Amazon Appstore. Read a bunch of app reviews before installing an app to look for any complaints about adware or suspected malware.


    4. Turn on Google's "Verify Apps" function. This allows Google to periodically scan your phone's apps to look for malware. It's usually in your Google Settings app, under Security (although it might also be in the main System Settings, in Settings>Security).


    In general, I don't bother with antivirus apps, but Avast is generally well-respected. Lookout is another good one.
    04-25-2016 06:11 PM
  5. anon(8526144)'s Avatar
    Again thanks B Ditty for your response. I worry about my daughter and granddaughter as they are so computer/phone illiterate and are liable to click on anything. I've tried to warn them about scams, come ons, phishing, etc. Can my granddaughters cell phone be "re-set" to wipe out any malware that may be there? I read somewhere that resetting a cell phone was similar to reformatting a computer hard drive and starting over with a clean device. Not sure if this is true and I would not know who to do it anyway and suspect it would need to be taken to the store where they obtained the phone originally to have this done. I'll have to text or call her and impress on her to avoid clicking on anything even if it seems innocent. Facebook has so many scams floating around and I know she uses FB. Again thanks for your help. JD
    04-28-2016 08:05 PM
  6. B. Diddy's Avatar
    A factory reset will usually clear out malware, but there is malware that can install itself to the system root. This means that even if you do a factory reset, the malware remains in the system. In this kind of situation, the firmware would have to be reinstalled (essentially like reinstalling Windows on a PC), which is typically a relatively advanced thing to do.

    I forgot to mention in my above list that you should turn off the "Unknown Sources" option in Settings>Security. This prevents any app from being installed that wasn't downloaded from Google Play Store (which is still the safest and most reliable place to get apps).
    04-29-2016 01:27 AM
  7. anon(8526144)'s Avatar
    Ok B Ditty. Thanks for your help and suggestions and comments. I think this should wrap up this for me. Not sure if either the reset or the factory reset us possible for my granddaughter. They are 350 miles away and I can't get there any time soon, so I'll advise her about security and make sure she has apps from sites other than Play Store turned off. When I do finally visit her I'll check out her phone and try to get all secured as best I can. Many users today, especially kids, have no clue about security and never think anything bad will happen to them, but sadly it does happen and very often to so many. Again, thanks for your help, it was greatly appreciated. JD
    05-01-2016 03:34 PM

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