Currently, some scary numbers in terms of accounts being hacked are being bandied around. There is something called the Gooligan Malware that has hacked a million Google accounts and continues to breach about 13,000 accounts a day. So who or what is Gooligan? In fact what is malware and how does this threaten you and me? Here is what’s going on and what precautions you can take:
Malware is a contraction of malicious software and is a term used to describe worms that enter a phone or computer system for advertising, to highjack information, spy on computer user activity, sabotage functions, extort money and other intrusive actions. It usually enters the system attached to or disguised as a harmless file.
This malware gains access to Android smartphone users’ Gmail accounts, Google photos and so on. it affects Jelly Bean, KitKat and Lollipop operating systems and so about 74% of all phones are at risk.
Between the time it first surfaced in August up to the end of November, well over a million users were impacted by the malware. This is being described as the biggest single theft of Google accounts on record.
Visiting certain websites or downloading some third party apps could give the malware entry into the system. Rootkits and device data is obtained and email accounts and authentication tokens are stolen by the malware. The malware then works itself into Google play to download more apps without permission of the user and to install adware to generate revenue.
Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., the firewall and VPN company, has conducted research into the Gooligan phenomenon and has identified a list of fake apps that may carry the Malware. You can visit the Checkpoint Blog to view the list of apps to find out whether you downloaded any of the risky apps in the recent past.
Checkpoint has developed something called Gooligan Checker. It will tell you whether or not your account has been breached or not.
You will see this. Of course they are plugging their own product called ZoneAlarm, but whether or not you want to buy protection is totally your choice.
Be careful about browser plugins and phone apps that you download and ensure they are from a trusted source. Delete installed items that you don’t use. Keep your OS and browsers up to date. If your account has been breached, experts advise clean installation of an operating system on your mobile device.
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