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Hacked Websites Give Android Malware

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    NEWSLETTERS

    David Parkinson via National Weather Service Data

    Websites are now infecting smartphones and tablets with a new Android Trojan.

    The malware is dubbed NotCompatible, according to security firm Lookout Mobile Security. NotCompatible masquerades as a system update, but is likely created to gain access to private networks through an Android device.

    This is the first known case of hacked websites distributing malware targeting Android devices, although they routinely infect desktop computers -- enough to garner the nickname "drive-by download."  Lookout Security, which sells virus protection for mobile devices, tells us that its software is protected against the virus (natch!)

    Most mobile users will encounter the Trojan by browsing web pages and hitting an infected site. Once the suspicious app finishes downloading to your Android phone or tablet, it will ask the user to click to install. It can only be installed if the user has sideloading allowed, or the setting that allows downloads from "Unknown Sources" is switched on. If not, then the download will be blocked. If yes, then your smartphone has been compromised.

    Most of the problem can be alleviated by not allowing one's mobile device to download from unknown sources -- or downloading the free security offered by Lookout Mobile Security or other companies.