Better Safe Than Sorry: Tips to Protect Your Mobile Device at Sochi.



February 7, 2014

Better Safe Than Sorry: Tips to Protect Your Mobile Device at Sochi

By Marc Rogers 0 Comments

It has taken 7 years and an unprecedented $51 billion dollars to prepare Sochi, Russia’s traditional summertime seaside resort for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Russia is deploying the biggest security force in the games’ history and the U.S. and other countries are also sending security teams of their own. Despite these precautions, Russia’s cybercriminals are already preparing for the Sochi Olympics.

Cybercriminals have a history of exploiting global high profile events. The Beijing Olympics is a great example where cybercriminals created fake websites that mimicked the legitimate event. Russian cybercriminals, in particular, are known to be highly experienced at this, and consequently US CERT is already issuing warnings about what to expect.

NBC’s news investigation into Russian malware at Sochi claimed that Sochi visitors would be targeted and their devices would likely be compromised within a matter of hours. Our perspective is slightly different. While it’s true Russia is a high risk environment, this doesn’t mean that you will be hacked the moment you step off the plane. In fact by just following a few common sense recommendations we believe that everything will be OK.



In 2013, we found that  62.91% of Lookout devices in Russia encountered mobile malware. That’s double China’s encounter rate of 28.45% and an almost 15 times greater chance of encountering malware than in the US (4.22%).

People are much more likely to consume what they feel is relevant to them, therefore Russian malware writers use advertisements dressed to match current events to lure victims. As a result, Russian malware authors rapidly adapt to major events that are likely to have a large audience, dressing their malware with images and text to make it appear relevant to that event. Finally, they use search engine optimization (SEO) tricks to ensure their malware comes back in the top results on any query for the targeted event.

How to Stay Safe?

Thankfully, this means there is an easy way to stay safe. Remember that malware encounter rate of 4.22% for the US? The single biggest factor behind this is that U.S. device owners predominantly download their apps from the Google Play store, while Russian users commonly sideload their apps from forums such as “” after allowing untrusted sources on their devices. So if you are going to the Sochi games, try not to worry too much, and instead make sure you follow these simple steps in order to stay safe.

  1. Prevent unauthorized third parties from tampering with your device. Don’t leave your device unattended, and ensure you have a strong PIN code on your device’s lock screen. A passcode is your first line of defense against unauthorized parties should your device fall into the wrong hands. Consider enabling “Device Encryption” as an additional layer of defense for your data.
  2. Download a mobile security app. Ensure you use a security application such as Lookout Mobile Security. Lookout will protect against mobile threats, such as malware and spyware, and help you recover your device if lost or stolen.
  3. Don’t download and install applications from untrusted sites. Make sure the “Unknown Sources” setting remains unchecked to block any attempts to do so.
  4. Don’t open suspicious attachments or install suspicious files. If you see a strange file appear on your device or an application prompts you to install it, delete it and don’t install. Likewise, do not open attachments in suspicious emails. If in doubt, check with the person that sent the attachment to ensure it is genuine.
  5. Only use Wi-Fi that you trust. If there is any doubt use 3G/4G Internet instead.
  6. Don’t connect your device to unknown computers. Only use your own charger or a charger that you trust to prevent a fake charger from attacking your device or attempting to steal your data.
  7. Only unlock your bootloader and jailbreak your device if you fully understand the risks. Take extra precaution when taking a device with an unlocked bootloader to a high risk country.

How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

December 27, 2012

How to Tell if Your Phone Has Been Hacked

By natalie 7 Comments

We all know that smart devices are pretty clever these days, but does your smartphone or tablet seem to have a mind of its own? If you suspect that it does, it may be infected with malware that can access your private information, secretly control your device and even steal your money through unauthorized charges to your phone bill.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify if your device is being overrun by malware:

1. Notice unfamiliar charges on your phone bill? A lot of us ask this question anyway, but it’s a good idea to regularly check the charges on your phone bill. Are there small but significant charges on it that you don’t recognize? Some malware is programmed to send paid SMS messages that get charged to your phone bill and deposited into the bank account of the malware writer.

2. Is your phone acting cray-cray? If your phone starts acting crazy, strangely opening and closing apps, or sending text messages by itself, your phone might be compromised. Malware is written to secretly control your device, and malicious apps have loose permissions that allow them to control more aspects of your device than it seems.

3. Is your battery draining extremely fast? Battery drain can be exacerbated by different factors like network settings or even a totally innocent app that’s just poorly coded. But because malware apps can run constantly in the background, it is inevitable that they will run down your battery much faster than normal.

If you answered yes to some or all of these questions, you should check if your phone has malware by scanning all the apps on your phone or tablet with Lookout Security + Antivirus. You can download Lookout for free from from Google Play. Lookout will tell you if there’s an app holding your phone hostage so you can delete it and get your phone back to normal. Problem solved!

Keeping your phone safe from malware is easy if you take the right precautions when downloading apps. Follow these simple tips to keep your mobile experiences safe and sound:

1. Keep the software on your device up to date. Malware writers design their malicious apps to take advantage of weaknesses in smart devices’ operating systems. By keeping the software on your phone or tablet current, you minimize your risk of being a victim of malware.

2. Be careful around third-party app stores. In the case of mobile apps, its always best to shop the big name brands, and stick with the Google Play Store, Apple App Store, and the app store. If you want to minimize risk of encountering malware, don’t download from random download sites you haven’t heard of before.

3. Be careful where you click. Some malware comes embedded in drive-by-download website links that automatically download a malicious app to your device without your prior approval. Safe Browsing in Lookout Premium will warn you of malicious sites.

4. Download a mobile security app to protect you. Downloading a security app, like Lookout, that has app and link scanning capabilities will help you be safer and better protected on your mobile device.