Mobile Security vs. PC Security – What’s Different?

Why do discussions about mobile security seem much more intense and pervasive than concerns about PC security? It’s a good question, and deserves a good answer. In a recent interview about mobile protection, our Co-CEO, Omar Khan, noted, ““Security is much broader than what we see from PC security today,” Khan said. “Mobile [security] is more than just anti-virus and anti-malware, it’s also about protecting the personal data you care about.

In the past we had an array of gadgets to perform our tasks. Most of us remember having a land-line telephone, an answering device, a desktop PC and/or a laptop, cameras, and perhaps, a GPS. Roll all those into one small device that goes everywhere with us and handles all of that, and more. Smartphones have become so valued for the variety of personal information they contain that mobile phone theft has become a major problem in urban areas.

It’s true, PCs began to have malware problems that proliferated with e-mail messages, or “spam.” Over time, criminals devised ways to trick people into giving out their personal information. But PCs didn’t have amazing features like text messaging, voicemail and photo capabilities. We now store oodles of data, images, information and communications on one very portable device that does not sit stationary on a desktop, but travels along with us.

As Omar Khan mentions, when you think of mobile security, consider the wider aspect of mobile privacy. We all have a lot of things we need to protect, whether it’s photos of our kids, business deals, our financial info, or private conversations. Many of us share smartphones with our spouses or kids, and any device that’s mobile is intrinsically more vulnerable to exposure than we’d like.

The next time you pick up your smartphone, consider the potential value it contains for a stranger, and make a point to keep your private matters safe and protected.

See the entire interview with Omar Khan.

Heads Up for GappII

This week the researchers at NQ Mobile found another pesky piece of masked malware designed to infect Android phones. Named GappII, this malicious code presents itself innocently as an Android patch.

If GappII malware pays a visit to your phone, you’ll be asked to download an Android security patch. Once you comply, you won’t see an icon on your screen. After it downloads, GappII will silently ask your phone for root privileges. If your phone agrees (and why wouldn’t it?), a “bot” is released that proceeds to download uninvited apps into your system. If your phone isn’t rooted, you’ll see a System Update notification. In either case, GappII runs in the background, and gifts you with apps you didn’t want.

There seems to be a trend toward malware that arrives in the disguise of an important service notice. Last month our researchers discovered “UpdtBot,” another even more dangerous variation of the important-tool-imposter ilk. As conscientious smartphone users, we all know we should download patches and updates as soon as possible. Therefore, clever new demons like GappII could easily take you by surprise.

In addition to following our researchers’ standard recommendations for a secure mobile system, we strongly suggest downloading NQ Mobile Security. Otherwise, you may not be able to tell the difference between a fraudulent security notice and the real thing. Once again, here are the recommendations from NQ Mobile’s researchers:

1) Only download applications from trusted sources, reputable application stores, and markets, and be sure to check reviews, ratings and developer information before downloading.

2) Never accept application requests from unknown sources. Closely monitor permissions requested by any application; an application should not request permission to do more than what it offers in its official list of features.

3) Be alert for unusual behavior on the part of mobile phones and be sure to download a trusted security application that can scan the applications being downloaded onto your mobile device.

NQ Mobile Security users are already fully protected from the “GappII threat. Download NQ Mobile Security for Android today.

Secrets in Your Smartphone?

What kinds of personal secrets might be hiding in your smartphone? Take a moment to really examine your phone’s data, and see if there aren’t some things you’d rather keep totally private, forever. Here are some examples.


  • You’re having private discussions with your mate regarding controversial subjects, like money, intimacy, parenting or, perhaps, even divorce.
  • Your teenager is confiding in you about things he wants no one else to know.
  • You’re planning a big surprise party.
  • You’re communicating with someone whose identity needs to remain private.
  • You’ve shot an embarrassing video or photo. You want to keep it, but don’t want it to go public, ever.
  • You share your smartphone with others, and want to keep your own communications private.


  • You and your client or lawyer are discussing a legal matter and are operating under a strict confidentiality agreement.
  • Your conversations about corporate developments are strictly confidential and not to be shared under any circumstances.
  • You’re in the delicate stages of a negotiation, and need to keep your communications absolutely off the record.
  • You’re conducting conversations with other professionals about medical or legal matters that are protected by privacy laws.
  • You’re employed but need to look for a different job. Your inquiries and responses are highly confidential.
  • You want to protect conversations with your stockbroker or financial adviser.
These are only a few examples of things we might want to protect from prying eyes. We all need to keep “secrets” from time to time.

For this reason, one of the best things you can do is to password-protect your smartphone. Choose a password that no one will guess (a combination of letters, numbers and characters is best) and make sure you enable password protection on your devices. That way, your data will remain private, even if your phone falls into the wrong hands.

Decades of Malware

Remember the old days, when desktop PCs were the most advanced technology in our workday? In earlier corporate settings, the IT manager might be the same person as the network manager, or even the HR person. Malware was less harmful and presented an occasional nuisance. In those days, mobile devices were only a vague concept. A futuristic thought back then, but a fact now, mobile devices have become an integral part of our lives.

One expert recently observed that PC malware was around for many years before it actually got sophisticated enough to be lucrative. However, mobile malware ‘s a different story. Perhaps because they already had a jump on it with PCs, cyber criminals began to realize real money from smartphone malware very early in the game. Unlike PC crime, it didn’t take them decades to latch onto the money making opportunities offered by mobile devices.

The first PC viruses began as pranks, and were often designed just to make something odd appear on the screen, or cause emails to proliferate. As malware became more malicious, it began to jam entire networks. Worms and Trojans crept through systems, introduced on floppy disks. Many of us remember hauling our virus-stricken CPUs to a local geek to get the sick thing up and running. It was at this time that firewalls and anti-virus software became a necessity. But even then, cyber-criminals were still not necessarily making a profit.

With mobile phones, however, security almost instantly became urgent. Criminals were speedy in figuring out how to make real money by lifting financial data and planting premium-call malware in mobile phones. Now, a large community of cyber criminals has developed. They share ideas, purchase new malicious code, and generally find more and more ways to earn their illegal living.

We’ve come a long way in a couple of decades. We no longer live in a world where cyber-criminals are happy to merely create a nuisance. Their intentions are not light-hearted, and they know enough to cause us some great consternation.

A comprehensive mobile security protection package is the only way to feel comfortable that your phone won’t be invaded, and that your private matters remain private. Download some mobile peace of mind, today.

Replacing Your Smartphone?

Are you thinking of selling or giving away your old mobile phone?  When a new model comes out, even if it’s only one feature ahead of the last, many of us jump to make the change.  Even if you just plan to pass your used phone along to someone in the family, it’s worth taking a few minutes for some safety precautions.

A Thorough Wipe?

In a recent study, an expert purchased 30 phones and went to work on hacking them.  He was able to glean personal data from 15 of them with help from a forensic expert.  Some of the info was absolutely private – “Social Security numbers, child support documents, credit card log-ins and a host of other data.”  The former owners of the phones felt certain that they’d left no data on the phones!  They’d restored the device’s settings, according to the instructions available to them, and were comfortable that the phones were clean.  They weren’t!

In particular, Android phones are prone to leaving data onboard even after they’re wiped in accordance with their manufacturer’s instructions.

Spring Cleaning

You may not have plans to give away or sell your phone, but it’s still a great idea to take stock of its contents. A little spring cleaning may be in order, and it never hurts to go through your phone to delete any unnecessary data.  That would include old emails and text messages, photos you’ve already transferred, obsolete banking and credit card information, or anything that could potentially jeopardize your privacy.  If you’re getting rid of your phone, wipe it clean of everything, and get it back to its original state.

Don’t forget to download NQ Mobile Security to your Android or other smartphone, just to ensure that every bit of your data will be erased from a phone before you put it back into circulation. Why take a chance?

Stay tuned for the ultimate privacy product, coming soon from NQ Mobile.

Gavin Kim Joins NQ Mobile as Chief Product Officer

We’re happy to announce that Gavin Kim, former General Manager (GM) for Windows Phone Product Marketing, has joined the NQ Mobile team as our new Chief Product Officer. In this newly created role, Gavin will be helping to map NQ Mobile’s future by identifying and developing innovative products, technologies and partnerships.

In our opinion, he’s the perfect guy for this job, and his experience speaks for itself. In his GM role at Microsoft, Gavin led the product marketing and platform planning teams, while also driving Windows Phone application and developer ecosystem efforts. He’s also held senior leadership positions at Samsung Mobile, Motorola and Advanced Technology Ventures, in which he was responsible for product vision, strategy, marketing and management.

In the words of our Co-CEO, Omar Khan: “Gavin’s proven track record of providing high level leadership to the biggest names in mobile technology makes him the perfect addition to our growing family of talented professionals.”

With Omar Khan as our Co-CEO in the United States, and Dr. Henry Lin as our Co-Founder and Co-CEO in Beijing, NQ Mobile’s growing at lightning speed, as proven by our position on the New York Stock Exchange. With Gavin on board, we’re very excited to take the next steps in product development and innovation.

See our press release today to learn all about Gavin Kim and NQ Mobile Security. We hope you’ll join us in welcoming him by posting comments on our Facebook and Twitter pages.