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.

Why the Smartphone’s Not Dead Yet…neither is the TV nor the PC

Have you read the news? The PC is dead!

It seems that every few months, we read that some technology or another has reached obsolescence. This month, the tech community is aflutter with the news that the PC is dead. Blackberry is failing, Dell is in the dumps, and sales have shown their greatest decline in 20 years.

But obituaries for almost any technology are greatly exaggerated. Music is a good case in point. Ask nearly anyone and they’ll tell you the LP is dead, but the reality is that sales of vinyl records were up 16.3 Percent in 2012 and on their way to another record-setting year. The true story isn’t of death, but of rebirth, and that couldn’t be truer than for today’s independent musicians who have countless options for digitally selling, promoting and distributing their music. It is analogous to what we are seeing with the PC. Has physical music retailing died because artists are selling their songs through Bandcamp or iTunes? Hardly – if anything, it democratizes the selling process for artists.

Browsing for vinyl at Amoeba Records

Jared Kelly via Compfight

PC sales are in decline – that’s true. But I still use a laptop on a daily basis, as do most people I know. Yes, my most recent purchase was a tablet, but there are some tasks that are simply more suitable to a PC. Video editing, graphic design, hard-core gaming, creating presentations, spreadsheets, and even writing are just better on a PC.  Even though I may not carry my laptop with me as much as I used to, that doesn’t mean I don’t need it. And if it breaks, I will buy another.

When you think about it, the PC isn’t dying as much as it is getting a longer life. As prices for components have decreased and the ability to swap out hard drives and update operating systems has increased, there just aren’t as many reasons to buy a new PC. Meanwhile, that tablet I just bought is bound to be outclassed by the-next-big-thing within the few months. Or I may drop it and break the screen. Or it may get stolen.  In fact, I may go through 3 or 4 tablets in the time between now and when I feel the need to replace my PC.

A similar story can be told with smartphones. According to comScore’s latest MobiLens report, The US is now at 55% smartphone penetration. As Henry Blodget explains in depth in an insightful post, once the halfway mark is crossed, we should expect incremental growth to decline, and once the market is saturated, unit growth will flatten. Yes, some people will break their phones or lose their smartphone, and then they’ll need a new one, but the explosion will be over.

Part of the issue is exactly what criteria we use to define the hardware we use. A PC is a personal computer. This is a definition based on functionality. A tablet is flat and has a touch screen. This is a definition based on form factor. As it becomes more common to add keyboards and other peripherals to a tablet, at what point does that tablet cross the line to be considered a personal computer?

Giant tablet is giant

ScaarAT via Compfight

“Smartphone” is hardware defined by its function. It’s called a smartphone because we can make calls on it as well do a host of other things like watch movies, surf the internet and use applications. As the number of things we can do with our smartphones increases, the amount of time we spend using them to actually make calls is decreasing. If I never use my phone as a phone, does it become a tablet? What if I use my tablet to make Skype calls? Is it then just a big smartphone?   And, have you seen the size of the screens on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2  – a phablet?

We can even throw TV – another piece of hardware whose demise has been projected – into the mix.  But as IFC President Evan Shapiro noted:

Once a decade, conventional wisdom decides that television will be killed off by a new technology. The VCR was going to destroy the Television Business. Then the DVD. Next, the DVR was going to ‘ruin the ecosystem.’ Yet, to date, each of those predictions have been, well, wrong. To date, nothing has killed, or even seriously wounded television.

Is TV a function or a form factor? Or is it neither? Most often, when we talk about television, we’re really talking about a service. And that service has evolved remarkably over the years. The current conversation surrounds cord cutting.  50 years ago, when television was broadcast, there weren’t cords to cut.

Television is perhaps the best model for these types of conversations. It’s not the story of one form factor. It’s a story of evolution and innovation, one of building and growing of a complete ecosystem. The actual hardware itself may have gotten the story started, but the history is still being written.

Perhaps the same is true of phones and tablets and PCs. In another 50 years, perhaps none will be gone, we just may not recognize them.

Smartphone Innovation 2013 – Time to Stretch?

The 2013 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week promises to bring some surprises to mobile users.

Smartphones are so smart now that developers are having to think up clever new features, beyond the electronic ones, to distinguish their phones. Some might be a bit over the top – what do you think of these two new innovations?

The Auto-Centric Phone

Here’s a smartphone that stays in your car.  That’s right – its permanent place is on the dashboard. Sure, this one is voice-activated and has all the great smartphone features, but with all the mounts and gadgets available to hold your portable smartphone, do you really need one that’s glued to the car?

OK, it may have some advantages

  • You won’t have to search your pockets or briefcase while you’re driving
  • You won’t need to remember to grab your phone before you leave the car
  • If you forget to bring your phone along, you’ve always got one in the car

Never mind if it’s an eyesore on your dash. It may become a status symbol – or maybe not.

The Transparent Phone

It’s not transparent when it’s turned off, but if it’s on, good luck spotting it between your couch cushions.

Right now it’s still just hardware looking for an operating system, but there’s no doubt that at least one of the big smartphone companies will buy in, according to Polytron Technologies.  Why would you want one?

  • It’s dual sided – you can use it from either side
  • It goes transparent when it’s fired up, and stays, otherwise, translucent
  • The glass being used to build it will have other uses

Many are still looking for a real user-advantage to the transparent phone, which is planned for release at the end of this year.  Surely some folks will have to have one if it really does emerge on the market. But, it’s not like it’s a self-cloaking stealth phone, and the clear glass is going to present some users with a challenge.

Whatever you decide about upcoming smartphone innovations, we at NQ Mobile want to remind you that downloading a powerful security package is a number-one priority.  Keep your mobile gadgets safe, private and malware-free with our award-winning privacy and security software.