Tag Archives: Android

Avira wins its first AV-Test Android Security Test certification of 2018

Avira wins its first AV-Test Android Security Test certification of 2018

A good Android Antivirus app has four primary features: It should protect your online security, not slow you down, look out for your device’s physical security – and get certified by an independent testing organization that it really works. Avira Antivirus Security Pro successfully checked all four features when it went through the latest battery […]

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No more embarrassing smartphone moments!

No more embarrassing smartphone moments!

Say goodbye to butt calls and other embarrassing smartphone moments. With the new pocket protection feature in Avira Optimizer for Android, you don’t need to worry if your smartphone screen is locked or not before putting it in your pocket or bag. This feature enables your device to automatically lock after it’s been placed in […]

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Your smartphone camera deserves better protection than a band-aid

Your smartphone camera deserves better protection than a band-aid - Protection d’appareil photo, Protezione fotocamera

Do you know who’s looking at you through your smartphone camera? The newly updated Avira Antivirus Security app answers that question and more by giving you direct control over your phone’s camera. Avira Antivirus Security does to smartphones what notable individuals such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and ex-FBI director James Comey are already doing with […]

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Things to consider before buying a new smartphone

It’s a familiar story: Your old cell phone has done its duty, and now it’s high time for a new smartphone. The market is bursting with cutting-edge devices that are constantly outdoing themselves in the features department – and that are considered better than everything else. Bigger display, better camera, the best operating system … […]

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Skygofree — Powerful Android Spyware Discovered


Security researchers have unveiled one of the most powerful and highly advanced Android spyware tools that give hackers full control of infected devices remotely.

Dubbed Skygofree, the Android spyware has been designed for targeted surveillance, and it is believed to have been targeting a large number of users for the past four years.

Since 2014, the Skygofree implant has gained several novel features previously unseen in the wild, according to a new report published by Russian cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Labs.

The ‘remarkable new features’ include location-based audio recording using device’s microphone, the use of Android Accessibility Services to steal WhatsApp messages, and the ability to connect infected devices to malicious Wi-Fi networks controlled by attackers.

Skygofree is being distributed through fake web pages mimicking leading mobile network operators, most of which have been registered by the attackers since 2015—the year when the distribution campaign was most active, according to Kaspersky’s telemetry data.

Italian IT Firm Behind Skygofree Spyware?


Researchers at Kaspersky Lab believe the hacker or hacking group behind this mobile surveillance tool has been active since 2014 and are based in Italy—the home for the infamous ‘Hacking Team’—one of the world’s bigger players in spyware trading.

“Given the many artifacts we discovered in the malware code, as well as infrastructure analysis, we are pretty confident that the developer of the Skygofree implants is an Italian IT company that works on surveillance solutions, just like HackingTeam,” said the report.

Kaspersky found several Italian devices infected with Skygofree, which the firm described as one of the most powerful, advanced mobile implants it has ever seen.

Although the security firm has not confirmed the name of the Italian company behind this spyware, it found multiple references to Rome-based technology company “Negg” in the spyware’s code. Negg is also specialised in developing and trading legal hacking tools.

Skygofree: Powerful Android Spyware Tool

Once installed, Skygofree hides its icon and starts background services to conceal further actions from the user. It also includes a self-protection feature, preventing services from being killed.

As of October last year, Skygofree became a sophisticated multi-stage spyware tool that gives attackers full remote control of the infected device using a reverse shell payload and a command and control (C&C) server architecture.

According to the technical details published by researchers, Skygofree includes multiple exploits to escalate privileges for root access, granting it ability to execute most sophisticated payloads on the infected Android devices.


One such payload allows the implant to execute shellcode and steal data belonging to other applications installed on the targeted devices, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Line, and Viber.

“There are multiple, exceptional capabilities: usage of multiple exploits for gaining root privileges, a complex payload structure, [and] never-before-seen surveillance features,” the researchers said.

Skygofree’s control (C&C) server also allows attackers to capture pictures and videos remotely, seize call records and SMS, as well as monitor the users’ geolocation, calendar events and any information stored in the device’s memory.

Besides this, Skygofree also can record audio via the microphone when the infected device was in a specified location and the ability to force the infected device to connect to compromised Wi-Fi networks controlled by the attacker, enabling man-in-the-middle attacks.

The spyware uses “the Android Accessibility Service to get information directly from the displayed elements on the screen, so it waits for the targeted application to be launched and then parses all nodes to find text messages,” Kaspersky said.

Kaspersky researchers also found a variant of Skygofree targeting Windows users, suggesting the authors’ next area of interest is the Windows platform.

The best way to prevent yourself from being a victim is to avoid downloading apps via third-party websites, app stores or links provided in SMS messages or emails.

The five best Android apps for 2018

The best five Android apps for 2018 - Android-Apps, Applications Android, App per Android

Whether you want to manage your finances, better organize your life, or plan all the good things you’re going to do from now on – the new year offers a host of opportunities. Here are the five best Android apps for 2018. Wallet – Money, budget, and finance tracker What could be better at the start […]

The post The five best Android apps for 2018 appeared first on Avira Blog.

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Global smartphone use: 2018 trends

Figures quoted by the TechRadar technology news website suggest that nearly one-third of the people on Earth now use a smartphone. As you would expect, well developed countries in North America and Europe have the highest overall levels of ownership. Globally, Denmark leads the way; more than three-quarters (77%) of the general population own a smartphone.

So what does 2018 hold for the smartphone market?

Here are 5 things to keep an eye out for:

1. Screens will get larger

When the first iPhone was released in 2007, smartphones all looked very similar – most had screens around the 3.5” mark. As people have begun to use their phones for watching videos and browsing the web however, screen sizes have increased dramatically. The latest iPhone X has a 5.8” screen, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab has a massive 6.3” wraparound screen.

During 2018, we expect to see more people choosing devices with larger screens. We also expect more manufacturers to follow the trend for edge-to-edge screens.

2. The developing world will see the largest growth in ownership

Pretty much everyone who wants a smartphone in Europe and North America now owns one. The market has effectively reached saturation point, so the only sales of new devices go to people upgrading or replacing their existing device.

Future growth will come in developing countries like India, China and Vietnam. eMarketer is predicting sales volume increases of nearly 20% in these countries during 2018.

3. More people will get online for the first time

The cost of smartphones continues to fall, making low-end handsets available to even more people – which is why there will be massive market growth in 2018. For most new smartphone owners in developing countries it will be the first time they have ever had direct access to the internet.

The smartphone will be these peoples’ primary computing device too – most will not have a home computer, laptop or tablet. Everything they do online will be using their phone.

4. AR will finally take off

The release of ARKit with Apple iOS11 is set to revolutionise the way we access information about our surroundings. Known as ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR for short), apps can use the smartphone camera to overlay graphics and data on your screen, providing a digital ‘layer’ to your surroundings.

The technology has been around for a few years, but with Apple’s support, AR will go mainstream very quickly. Some apps, like Pokemon Go, have already been updated to show game characters interacting with the world around the players.

5. We will see more mobile malware in the wild

Although a boost in the number of smartphones is good news for the people using them, it also means that cybercriminals will ramp up their attacks on mobile platforms. There have already been a number of mobile malware related incidents in 2017, and we expect to see them increase in frequency over the next year.

No matter where you are located, or how many years you have been using a smartphone, we strongly recommend downloading a security app like Panda Mobile Security that can protect you against mobile malware. The low annual fee is a useful insurance policy against attacks.

Ready for more in-depth predictions? Check out our 2018 Cybersecurity Trends Report.

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