A new virus for Android smartphones has been spotted in the wild by Heimdal (a Danish security company) called Mazar.
The way that it works is that a user would tap on a link in an email or a message that they have received. Once they tap on that link they download a program that will basically gain administrator access to your phone. Basically, the virus will be able to completely wipe your phone. Any text messages, phone call logs, photos that you have taken, videos that you have taken and anything else on your phone will be erased from your phone.
Heimdal has carried out some tests and they were able to confirm that smartphones on Android KitKat (version 4.4) can be infected by Mazar. However, that does not mean that smartphones running older versions of Android can also be infected by the virus.
So, how can you protect yourself from this virus? Well, unless you are expecting something, do not tap on links in emails or messages. I don’t care whether it’s the Gmail app, Whatsapp messenger, Viber, WeChat or any other messaging app you should not click on any links unless you know it’s someone that you can trust. If someone you know sent you something and you don’t know if it came from them, call them and ask them if they sent it.
If you set your phone’s language to Russian then you are also protected.
Most important of all, there is a setting on your smartphone that allows you to install software from untrusted sources. By default this is turned on, so most of you are protected already. If you have turned this setting off then I would highly recommend turning it back on until a software update is available.
This is just a testament to the fact that smartphones can also get viruses. There is already a virus on Android smartphones called stagefright where a multimedia message could cause serious damage if a hacker knew how to exploit it. Again, we have to be super careful about receiving links via email or any form of messaging. Last but not least, think about the stuff that you store on your phone. It might be pictures of your baby, photos that you took on holiday, receipts for something that you might have ordered. This is why it’s important to do what you can to protect yourself. Otherwise, you risk losing stuff that you cannot replace.