Fake Google+ App Delivers Fraudulent SMS and Ad Spam

The NQ Mobile Security Center has detected new Android malware masquerading as a Google+ app. The fake app is an SMS worm, and when activated, sends text messages to all of your contacts encouraging them to download the fraudulent app, as well. In addition, the app loads AdMob ads on your phone, resulting in malicious popups that can lead to further app downloads if you aren’t careful.

FraudPlus, otherwise known as a.fraudware.selfmite.a, infected 90 users in 28 countries before it was caught and neutralized. NQ Mobile Security users are protected from any further outbreaks of this virus.

FraudPlus downloads were limited to 3rd party app stores, so folks who exclusively download their apps from Google Play were protected in this case, unless the malware was sent to them by SMS.

Countries affected by FraudPlus

Countries affected by FraudPlus

Package Name: com.google.gsn.plus

SMS Samples (links now redirect to 404 pages):

  1. Hey, try it, its very fine. http://x.co/5XBNm
  2. b. Hi buddy, try this, its amazing u know. http://x.co/5XXHl

Malware Screenshots:

FraudPlus Screenshot     FraudPlus screenshot

Permissions Requested:


Protect Yourself from FraudPlus:
NQ Mobile Security users are already fully protected from FraudPlus and all other malware threats. If you don’t have a powerful mobile security application on your phone, we recommend that you take the following precautions to prevent damage from future threats:

1. Only download applications from trusted and reputable app stores and markets—think Google Play.

2. Always check reviews, ratings and developer information before downloading apps.

3. Never accept app download requests from unknown sources.

4. Closely monitor requested app permissions to be sure the app is accessing no more than what it needs to. That flashlight app requesting your location? Yeah, your gut is correct, that makes no sense so take a pass.

5. Be alert for any unusual behavior exhibited by your mobile phone—it can be a sign of malware. If you find yourself in a situation like this it’s time to run a quick anti-virus check.

NQ Mobile Security for Android is available for download at nq.com and on Google Play.

How can parents keep up with all the apps and services their kids use?

181/365 "You seen this?"Creative Commons License Matthew Wilkinson via Compfight

January 28th is National Data Privacy Day, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about the importance of taking steps to protect the privacy of your personal and financial data. In the week leading up to Data Privacy Day we’ll be focusing on the best methods to protect your personal data from harm.

A quick look at a child’s phone might allow a parent to see what apps their kids have installed on their mobile devices, but how does a parent know which ones are safe and which ones might pose a threat? Thankfully there are some online resources that provide app reviews from a parents point of view.

One popular site, Common Sense Media, provides app ratings that can be very useful for overwhelmed parents who are trying to monitor the content their children are interacting with on their smartphones.

Common Sense Media Call of Duty — Strike Team

Example of a Common Sense Media app review

However, none of the available online resources that are designed for parents cover all the latest apps that children are using. For example, the ultra-hot app Whisper, which gets more page views than CNN according to this article in The Atlantic, allows its users to anonymously share secrets with each other, but it has yet to be reviewed by Common Sense Media. We’re not criticizing Common Sense Media (we’re actually huge fans of the site!) but with over 1 million apps available for download on Google Play it is simply impossible for reviewers to keep up. So what is a parent to do?

We all know that parents should be teaching their children how to stay safe online, but it can be nearly impossible to stay on top of all the hot new apps your kids are using. A service like NQ Family Guardian allows parents to create filters for their childrens’ mobile devices and block inappropriate services, websites, contacts, and even apps. The best strategy is to assume that any app could potentially be dangerous and only allow children to install and use apps that you have reviewed yourself.

Interested in trying Family Guardian yourself to see how it can help you to keep your kids safe online? Download a free 30 day trial of the app on Google Play.


5 tips for sending your kids to school with a smartphone


1. Know the latest school policies

Every school is different, but most of them allow students to bring mobile devices to class as long as they turn them off during learning time. This one might sound like a no brainer, but make sure you check with your child’s school and find out about their official policy for phones in the classroom. It is important that your child knows about the latest rules because schools can take their cell phone from them when they have reasonable suspicion that it has been involved in some violation of school policy or the law.

Some students have been known to abuse their smartphones at school. Make sure they know not to use the phone for outrageous things like cheating, taking pictures of kids without permission, and harassing teachers while filming it. Some abuses of phone privileges have serious consequences, and all the evidence is stored in the device.

2. Setup a lock screen PIN or swipe pattern

This is something that all smartphone owners should do, but it’s especially important for children. As adults we often keep our smartphone in our pocket or purse, but kids at school might be forced to leave their mobile device in their backpack, cubby hole, or locker where another student might have easier access to it.

When I was young, I would always hop on my brother’s computer when he wasn’t looking and change his wallpaper to something embarrassing as a joke. Today a child might take someone else’s phone and post inappropriate updates to their social networks. Make sure your child keeps his phone locked so others can’t use it without his permission.

3. Talk to your children about privacy when using mobile apps

A recent report from the Pew Research Center shows that although teenagers 12 to 17 tend to manage their privacy settings themselves, the majority (71%) have sought outside advice at some point. The most popular group that teens get security tips from was their peers (42%), but parents came in a close second (41%) when they seek help.

“At first, the finding that 41% of online teens have asked for advice about online privacy from a parent seems surprising — particularly given that many teens are motivated to protect their privacy specifically from their parents,” Amanda Lenhart, the study’s lead author, told Mashable. “But for a subset of teens, often younger ones, their parents were heavily involved in helping them set up their social media accounts (often as a precondition to use) and so it’s not so surprising that those teens would be seeking advice from their parents.”

Your kids are going to download apps if they have smartphones, so you might as well help them out and discuss any privacy concerns they might have. Are they aware they are broadcasting their location to others? Do they know that Snapchat pictures can be saved by others? Does every picture they take get automatically uploaded to a cloud service? These are things you should know and talk openly about. Make sure your children realize they can’t believe everything they see on their mobile device, nothing is private, and everything they post online can be permanent.

4. Keep it charged at all times

What good is a mobile phone if the battery is dead? Your child might leave for school with a fully charged phone, but it could end up dead at the end of the day when they really need to call you. In case of emergencies, provide your child with an extra battery or a portable battery. These can be purchased from most big box retail stores for $20-30 and are a real life saver in emergency situations.

 5. Use parental control software

If your child is still learning the ropes of their new smartphone, or you don’t trust them to obey the school rules, then try installing a parental control software. A service like NQ Family Guardian can help you control your children’s smartphone usage by setting up schedules when they can make calls, browse the Internet, text, and play apps. You can also filter out inappropriate websites and apps, keep track of your child’s location, and help your child make smart choices when using their phone.

To celebrate back to school season, we are offering a 30% discount on NQ Family Guardian.

What you need to know before your teenager joins LinkedIn


LinkedIn has quickly become the world’s largest social network for professionals with 225 million+ members, but the service isn’t just for older people. This month LinkedIn introduced University Pages and soon they will be updating their terms of service to change the age requirement for new accounts. Currently users need to be at least 18 before joining the social network, but beginning on September 12th that age limit will be lowered to just 13 years old, depending on the country.

University Pages on LinkedIn is part of a new focus on education designed to help students at every critical milestone from choosing the right campus to finding fulfilling careers. Hundreds of schools from around the world have already created pages that allow potential students to ask questions, explore the careers of graduates, connect with alumni, and build their network.

Christina Allen, Director of Product Management at LinkedIn, said, “I knew that hidden in millions of member profiles were powerful insights about the career outcomes of educations from universities around the world. If harnessed, these insights could provide incredible value for students – helping them explore possible futures and build a support network to help them succeed on campus and beyond.”

Finding the right college is often a difficult choice and it’s nice to see companies building tools that can make the process easier, but there are some things that parents should know before their teenager joins LinkedIn.

  • The minimum age for LinkedIn members will vary by country; in the United States it is 14.
  • LinkedIn members who are minors will have different default settings to limit publicly viewable profile information and unwanted communications. Profile’s of teens will default to first name and last name initial, and LinkedIn will automatically prevent their profile from appearing in public search engines such as Google and Bing.
  • Customer Support tickets initiated by members under 18 will have special routing.
  • LinkedIn has updated their Safety Center and Family Center so that all members can easily find and access information on how to safely use LinkedIn

For a more concise summary of the changes to LinkedIn’s new Terms of Service, visit their User Agreement and Privacy Policy pages.

When I was a teenager, the most popular social network was MySpace. It encouraged us to pick what bands we liked and arrange our friends into a Top 8 list, and higher education was the last thing on my mind when I was logged in. There were not many online services that motivated me to focus on which school was best for my future, so I’m glad that LinkedIn is targeting this market.

Concerned about your child’s smartphone usage? Download NQ Family Guardian and enjoy a 1-Month FREE Trial. 

At what age should a child get their first smartphone?


Back to school season is now here, and this year more kids than ever will be carrying a smartphone in their backpack. A mobile device can provide peace of mind to a parent that wants to stay in touch and track their child’s location, but at what age should a youngster own their first cell phone?

A recent study found that one in 10 children get their first phone by the age of five – the equivalent of kindergarten. Another report from the UK found that the average age a child gets a phone is only 7.5 years old. That’s a drop of six years in the past decade, when juveniles were getting their first cell phone in middle school.

In our family, I gave my son his first smartphone when he turned one year old. My reasons were different – I needed him to stop chewing on my phone – but I wanted him to get familiar with a mobile device at an early age so he feels comfortable using it later. Giving our child a way to communicate with us in case of an emergency is important, so he will take a cell phone with him when he is old enough for school.

Most parents listed “safety of children” as the main reason they bought their child a mobile phone, but peer pressure also played a factor. A quarter of parents surveyed admitted that they felt it was the “right thing to do” after they had seen peers buy children of the same age phones.

Even though the average age of a child’s first phone is trending lower, some parents still choose to wait a little longer. Bill Gates, former CEO of Microsoft and father of three, recently revealed that his kids didn’t receive a mobile phone until they turned 13. That led his children to complain that, “All the other kids have one [and] it’s so embarrassing,” but he stuck with the family rule.

Many parents will wrestle with the appropriate time to give their child a phone, and it’s a complex decision that should be tackled early. Every family is unique so parents will have to determine how responsible and independent their kids are. Some children might need to be in touch for safety reasons, while other kids might not yet understand that their texts and picture messages can be widely broadcast across the web by others.

Thankfully, new parental control apps can help with the transition to a child’s first smartphone. Parents can easily monitor their child’s location, set limit’s on smartphone usage, and filter out inappropriate apps and web content. It’s a parents job to say “No” if they feel their child is too young for a smartphone, but it’s also their duty to teach them safe and responsible usage when the time finally comes.

If you are a parent, have you already given your child their first mobile phone? How old do you think a child should be before they receive their first mobile device? Vote in our poll below and let us know.

5 Summer Online Safety Tips for Kids

Summer is here and the odds are good that your kids will be spending quite a bit of time online. Here’s 5 quick tips to help you keep them safe while they learn and play.


 1. Limit their online time

Just because school is out doesn’t mean that structure should go out the window. Decide the amount of online time that is right for you and your family and stick to it. For younger kids that may mean 30 minutes a day, but older kids might need an hour or more. Can’t decide how much time is right for your kids? Check out this article from TheWeek.com on how and why you should limit screen time.

2. Supervision is key

Your child is much less likely to browse suspicious content if Mom or Dad is watching. Place the family computer in a central location and limit their usage of tablets and smartphones when you’re not around.  Parental control apps like NQ Family Guardian can help you with this.

3. Do your research

Review their browser history and look up any sites you see that are unfamiliar. If you just can’t keep up with what the kids are doing consider using a parental control app to automatically block questionable content.

4. Sometimes, time away from the phone is a good thing

Kids going to camp this summer? Consider having them leave the phone at home. After all, they’re probably there to enjoy the great outdoors. Do you really want endless games of Candy Crush Saga standing between them and a great time at Camp Granada? Learn more about a phone-free summer camp experience at commonsensemedia.org.

5. Educate yourself

Let’s be honest, your kids are probably ahead of you in the curve when it comes to technology. Often by the time you become aware of the latest social networking craze, your kids have moved on to the next big thing. Don’t spend time educating them about how to use these new technologies—instead, focus on teaching them the basics: courtesy, respect, why you shouldn’t share too much with strangers. Lessons like these will serve to protect them well on sites you haven’t even heard of yet.

What are your favorite online safety tips for kids? Join us on Twitter on June 20 at 3pm Eastern. We’ll be discussing online safety tips for parents with the National Cyber Security Alliance and others. Use the hashtag #ChatSTC to join the conversation!