Unmasking the Threat: The Rise of Malware in Android Apps

Unmasking the Threat: The Rise of Malware in Android Apps

In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, Android users face a new challenge: a surge in malicious applications. Recent findings by McAfee have unearthed a concerning trend of malware-infected Android apps, Xamalicious malware, potentially compromising the security of over 327,000 devices. This alarming revelation calls for an immediate response from Android users, especially those who have downloaded any of the identified apps from Google Play.

The Unseen Enemy: Xamalicious Malware

McAfee’s discovery of the malware, dubbed Xamalicious, reveals a sophisticated attack strategy. These apps, built using Xamarin, a .NET framework, have been lurking undetected, exploiting the complexities of APK file build processes. The malware authors have skillfully combined obfuscation techniques and custom encryption to evade detection while exfiltrating data and communicating with their command-and-control servers.

The Mechanics of the Malware

Once installed, these apps attempt to gain accessibility privileges through social engineering tactics. The most concerning aspect is the potential installation of a second-stage payload. This payload can take full control of the device, functioning like spyware or a banking trojan, operating without user interaction. Additionally, some apps, like Cash Magnet, engage in ad fraud by automatically clicking ads and installing other applications, misleading users with the promise of redeemable retail gift cards

The Global Impact and Response

The scope of this Xamalicious malware outbreak is not limited geographically, with significant activities reported in the US, Brazil, Argentina, UK, Spain, and Germany. Google’s response to McAfee’s report was prompt, resulting in the removal of these apps from the Google Play Store. However, the risk persists for users who have already installed these apps.

A Closer Look at the Affected Apps

Here is a detailed list of the apps identified by McAfee, along with their download statistics:
1. Essential Horoscope for Android (100,000 downloads)
2. 3D Skin Editor for PE Minecraft (100,000 downloads)
3. Logo Maker Pro (100,000 downloads)
4. Auto Click Repeater (10,000 downloads)
5. Count Easy Calorie Calculator (10,000 downloads)
6. Sound Volume Extender (5,000 downloads)
7. LetterLink (1,000 downloads)
9. Step Keeper: Easy Pedometer (500 downloads)
10. Track Your Sleep (500 downloads)
11. Sound Volume Booster (100 downloads)
12. Astrological Navigator: Daily Horoscope & Tarot (100 downloads)
13. Universal Calculator (100 downloads)

Protecting Yourself: Steps to Take

1. Immediate Uninstallation: If you have any of these apps installed, uninstall them without delay.
2. Regular Updates: Keep your Android OS and apps updated.
3. Download Wisely: Only install apps from trusted sources.
4. Stay Informed: Regularly check for security updates and alerts.
5. Use Security Software: Install reliable antivirus software on your device.

In conclusion, the discovery of Xamalicious in Android apps serves as a stark reminder of the relentless evolution of cyber threats. Staying vigilant and informed is our best defense against these invisible adversaries. By taking proactive steps and fostering a culture of cybersecurity awareness, we can safeguard our digital lives against such insidious threats.

Raising Cyber-Smart Kids

Raising Cyber-Smart Kids

We all know that raising kids is a skill, but how much more complicated is it now with kids using technology so soon? Young children play on cell phones and hand-held electronics as soon as two years of age or younger. Parents are guilty of using their phones for Netflix, Disney, and whatever else may entertain their children while they, the parents, are trying to get things accomplished. We have discussed this commonality throughout numerous articles with Dale Dumbs IT Down

With all this technology and information on the internet, how can we keep our kids safe and make sure they become cyber-smart? This is not an easy discussion, so we hope this article provides some useful ideas to help you talk to your kids and discuss the importance of cybersecurity and being cyber-smart. Much like we mentioned in How to Teach Your Kids About CyberSecurity and Games, we’ll discuss different ways to help encourage online safety and smart internet practices. 

Raising Cybersmart Kids 

It all starts with the conversations at home. Parents and guardians have the opportunity to provide the best knowledge and education for their children. Unfortunately, schools, daycares, etc., might not share similar philosophies for education or cyber awareness. We stress the conversations at home and encourage you to do what is best for your family. Luckily, there is a plethora of websites (like ours), programs, and games dedicated to helping families raise cyber-smart kids. 

Knowledge is Power

Safer Internet Day (SID) is February 7th, 2023. This organization promotes global education and resources for a safer internet, encouraging people to participate while bringing others together to make the most of the internet’s potential. Their slogan: “Together for a better internet” focuses on their mission of continually promoting safe internet practices. The European Union initially created SID in 2004, and since then, it has grown globally, working with other countries to promote cybersecurity and cyber awareness. Each year, this organization focuses on content and themes our children are experiencing such as cyber bullying, scams, predators, etc. 

LEARN: SID Resources

This global organization works within its network with a larger global resource called INHOPE, which is a European network aiming to help prevent child sexual abuse and materials. INHOPE offers hotlines to protect children from online enticement by predators. Raising our kids to be cyber smart includes identifying what online threats are like sexual enticement, predators, etc. It’s not an easy conversation; however, it’s vital to our children’s online safety. As we shared previously, there are multiple safety apps to help protect our children from unwanted content and to protect them in an emergency. However, acknowledging the threats and teaching our youth is how we can make a difference. 

DISCOVER: Parental Supervision

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) discusses the various dangers of online predators and provides resources for parents and guardians. To keep our children safe and cyber-smart, they need to be aware of all the issues out there. Online enticement and sextortion are real issues affecting our youth regularly. Online victimization is the biggest threat to our children. This is where it’s crucial to inform our children of the scary possibilities of online conversations, image sharing, information and identity sharing, and more. We discussed the benefits of Google Family Link in regards to monitoring your children’s online presence and content. Although you can monitor much of your children’s information, as we said before, their schools, friends, etc. might not be as cyber smart or as cyber aware as you’d like. 

TRENDING: North Dakota & Cyber Defense

Cyber Legends

Cyber Legends is a cyber safety and educational online game for kids. The concept is that kids can learn to be cyber smart through the online game and storyline. The plot contains the evil Lord Hacker and evil robots who are causing destruction and mayhem. Station 66 needs help to fight off the evildoers. Kids can pick and choose their characters, gear, and more while exploring Station 66 and avoiding the evil Lord Hacker. 

You can create an account as a parent or guardian to monitor and learn what your children learn. You can set up your kid’s accounts, pick a plan, and start the journey. The cyber educational game is free but offers educators various plans annually per teacher, school, or district. The hope is that this game is introduced in elementary schools, teaching these school-age kids how to protect themselves and others against cyberbullying, stalking, and more. Game designers created various characters and activities to help keep kids cyber-aware and cyber-smart. 

As we discussed before, teaching our kids to be cyber-smart can be challenging, especially when it comes to online enticement and sextortion. Cyber Legends even has a Digital Health Consent for parents and educators to learn how to approach sexual content in the digital world through various situations in Cyber Legends. Parents have a dashboard where they can see these or any other lectures beforehand. 

Cyber Legends provides a safe space for kids and families to learn about being cyber smart and cybersecurity without the added stress. This platform can help back the conversations you’re having at home, bringing attention to the “forever” system the world wide web created while keeping the atmosphere friendly. Use Cyber Legends as another way to provide a defensive educational opportunity to your children so they can understand the repercussions of technology. 

We know that being a parent has many challenges, and we have a lot on our plates. However, it’s up to us to stay in the know about the issues the internet, apps, and games might have. Raising your kids to be cyber smart is raising your kids as cyber aware, cyber secure, and safe from predators. 

Have you read our article on Spotify and porn? Check out How Your Kids Can Access Porn Through Your Spotify. Who would have even imagined? This is why we do what we do as parents. 

RELATED: The Journal

Are Hackers In Your Phone?

Are Hackers In Your Phone?

It feels like there’s a new scam or a new way for hackers to gain access to our information daily. Unfortunately, we cannot even keep up with the new ways, but we can try and inform our readers of what we hear. If you’re unsure of if someone has scammed you or is trying to scam you, there are a few ways of checking to see if you have a hacker in your phone stealing your information. 

Are Hackers In Your Phone?

Believe it or not, hackers will select certain phone operating systems over others like Androids over iPhone due to an open system versus a closed system. Wanna guess which one is open? If you’re an Android user, you already are at a bigger threat level than those that use Apple products. Now Apple users, you are still on a threat level no matter your systems, as hackers do not care one way or another. It’s just whether it’s easier or not and what precautions you need to take. 

Once upon a time, we avoided the internet on our devices because we were so nervous about predators and hackers. Now, we are constantly exposed to hacker attempts regardless of the internet. Almost every single app on your phone can be used to track you and your information. Even Google is guilty of tracking our information. Much like mega social media ruler, TikTok, who has been under legal scrutiny across the nation, no app is safe. There’s simple hacking from someone taking your phone and knowing the password to more advanced hacking like installing stalker software aka stalkerware. 

TRENDING: TikTok and National Security Concerns

Hacker Red Flags

If you’re concerned about your information, here are some of the red flags to see if a hacker is in your phone. If your battery is draining more quickly than usual, then you might have malware running in the background using your data. Most cell phone providers offer apps to show your bill and data usage. You can check to see where your data is and reassess whether you might have a hacker in your phone. Another hacker red flag is spam pop-ups when you’re using your browsers. Often, we can set our settings to block cookies or pop-ups, but if you have a hacker using malware in your phone, you might have more issues. Make sure you know exactly what sites you’re visiting and double-check your security settings. If your phone keeps shutting down, is working slowly, or doing strange things, it’s probably a hacker. Updates often provide us phone users with faster interfaces, so if your phone is still struggling, then you need to check if you have malware or a virus. 

LEARN: Top Security Threats–Reader’s Digest

How To Remove Hackers From Your Phone

We’ve established the signs a hacker might be in your phone, so now let’s talk about how you can remove them. One of the easiest ways to remove a hacker from your phone is to change all your passwords on your accounts and social media apps. Changing passwords can greatly reduce the chances of hackers stealing your information. If you’re interested in stellar passwords, check out our Best Tips For Making Passwords Strong And More Secure for the best information.

After you’ve changed your passwords, you’ll want to make sure all those accounts like Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, and others all have the Two-Factor Authentication system. As a refresher, setting your 2FA up means that when you log into one of your accounts, there is a secondary method to verify that you are the right person logging into the account. You can set this up with your email, your phone number as a call or text, and even a special code per account. If you need to learn how to set up your two-factor authentication on your social media accounts, read up on Setting Up 2FA or What Is Two Factor Authentication.  

Delete any questionable apps or downloads on your phone. If you’re not sure what something is, or you don’t use it frequently, consider removing it from your cell phone. Often, users need to go into their settings and phone system to see files or to see all their downloads. Hackers can sneak malware into everything from PDF files to images and more. If you’re not using it, then it doesn’t need to exist. This will also free up space on your phone, helping the operating system run more smoothly. If it doesn’t? Then you have a hacker in your phone. 

DISCOVER: Hacking Humans–Podcasts

How To Keep Hackers Away

Besides keeping the above tips in check, you’ll want to start some good digital habits. For example, make sure you’re not using unsecured wifi or open hotspots when using your phone. The same rule applies to your Bluetooth, as hackers can connect to your phone using wifi, hotspots, and your Bluetooth connections. If you’re out and about, needing to charge your phone, you need to be careful about using charging stations or charging cords. These are often unmonitored and very tempting to hackers. The next time you’re at the airport, it might be smarter to just go buy a new charger at that little convenience store on the corner of the terminal. 

If you’re on your home network, then we recommend firewalls and security systems. Much like you’d want to protect your family with locks on the doors or a security system for intruders, you’ll want to secure your family’s personal and private digital information. Check out our suggestion for Monitoring Your Home Network and learn more about protecting your digital footprint. We also suggest getting a VPN router to keep your home network and information secure, preventing hackers from stealing your info. Learn about the Best VPN Routers.

Maintaining a safe and secure digital life is challenging. Hackers are determined to get into your phone and other devices, steal your information, and cause chaos. Use these tips to find, remove, and prevent hackers from scamming your and your loved ones. 

RELATED: South Dakota Gov. Phone Hacked

Setting Up 2FA on Social Media Accounts

Setting Up 2FA on Social Media Accounts

If you’re into social media, have a social media account, or even if you have an email then you’ll want to know how to protect your account. Setting up two-factor authentication is the best way to keep your accounts safe. In other words, a 2FA prevents hackers from stealing your information and identity. 

What Is Two-Factor Authentication? 

If you remember from our previous article on two-factor authentication, there are a few ways 2FAs work. Most 2FAs have the option of your password and either a phone number backup or email backup in which your social media account will then verify your login via one of the mentioned backups. This is probably the most common way many users get back into their accounts when they forget their password or when they need to log in. You can receive a phone call or a text message with a security code if you chose to have your phone number as your second verification. If you choose your email as your 2FA, then the social media system will send you an email with a code or link to input. You can also choose to use a biometric established on your phone already (face recognition or fingerprint). These are security measures uniquely to you. 

Facebook 2FA

If you have a Facebook account, setting up your two-factor authentication is pretty easy. For any mobile device, the pathway to setting up your 2FA is the easy. You select your Facebook profile and the next screen shows the menu below. 

  • Select Settings & Privacy
  • A menu drops down for Settings
  • This screen will show your Profile, Account, Security, Ads, and Legal and Policies
  • Select Security which takes you to Security and Login.
  • You’ll see the Two-Factor Authentication
  • Next, will be the edit option which will prompt you to put in your current password and lead you to your 2FA settings. 
  • This page allows you to see if your 2FA is on, as well as what security methods you’ve selected. You can select a backup method as well, from security recovery codes and security keys. 

If you’re on a desktop computer or laptop, here are the steps to setting up your 2FA. 

  • Go to your profile picture or hover over it on the right side of your screen. It will drop down a menu with Settings and Privacy. Selecting this option will add another menu where you can select Settings. This option will then load a new page for all settings and privacy information. On the left-hand side, you will see the option for Security and Login, which is the menu you’ll want to select for setting up your two-factor authentication. 
  • On the Security and Login page you’ll see sections for Recommended, Where You’re Logged in, Login, Two-Factor Authentication, Setting Up Extra Security, and Advanced setting options. 
  • In the Two-Factor Authentication, you’ll see an edit option. This option will prompt you to put in your current password and lead you to your 2FA settings. 
  • This page allows you to see if your 2FA is on, as well as what security methods you’ve selected. You can select a backup method as well, from security recovery codes and security keys. 

Whatever method you choose for your 2FA will heighten your account’s security and prevent your account from getting hacked. 

Instagram 2FA

Instagram and Facebook are similar platforms for security and two-factor authentication because they are owned jointly through Meta (AKA Mark Zuckerberg). Since they are both under the same company, you can use each account as another verification method for logging in. 

For mobile devices, you’ll select the three lines associated with your profile account either in the upper right corner or in the bottom left. 

  • The menu will pop up with another menu–select Settings
  • From there you’ll want to select Security 
  • Next, you will select Two-factor Authentication 
  • You can select login codes, an authentication app, WhatsApp, and text messages, as well as an option for additional methods and trusted devices. 

If your two-factor authentication is on, Instagram will let you know as you enter that setting. 

For home computers, your menu option will appear on the left side of the screen. It’s been a minute since I’ve even logged in on my laptop, so I was surprised at the display changes.

  • Lower left, select Menu which pops up a mini window
  • Then select Settings, which opens your Profile tab on the right 
  • Find Privacy and Security
  • Scroll down to Two-factor Authentication 

Instagram and Facebook both allow users to purchase on their apps. You can create and purchase advertising from Meta, for your personal and business use. Other businesses and merchandise shops can suggest products for users, and you can buy directly from these apps. That being said, you can add a credit or debit card to your account for these purchases. Tempting as that may be, it does come with the risk of someone hacking your account and using your credit cards. Setting up your 2FA helps reduce this risk, as you’ll know where you’re logged in and on what accounts. However, we also discuss Why You Need Notifications For All Your Credit Card Transactions, so if you need more reasons–be sure to check that out. 

TikTok 2FA

TikTok is another major social media outlet, and if you or your children are using this app, at the very least, set up the two-factor authentication setting. For your mobile devices, you’ll want to go to your profile and find the three lines for the menu option, probably in the upper right corner.

  • Select the Menu, which pulls up a mini window
  • Select the Settings and Privacy option
  • In the Account section, select the Security option
  • 2-step Verification is the last menu option
    • Here you can select from a text message, email, or password in which you will add your phone number, email, or input a password. 
    • If you selected the phone number or email, TikTok will send you a special code to verify your account choices. 

For desktop/laptop logins, you’ll hover over your profile in the right-hand corner, in which a menu will pop up.

  • Select Settings, which opens up an account screen
  • I’ll be completely honest–Privacy and Settings open but yields no way for me to even find a 2FA. 

This company has failed to adequately create a user-friendly desktop site and has failed in aiding in the privacy and well-being of its users. (TikTok isn’t Protecting your kids)

We’ll be honest, social media has pros and cons, and as a family, you get to choose what is best for you and your children. When it comes to the security of your accounts, having a two-factor authentication can help avoid hackers and spamming. You and your children’s safety is always at risk when getting on the internet. Use this as a guide to set up 2FAs on the most common social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok

If you’re looking to monitor your children’s usage of any of these apps, make sure you check out our review of Google’s Family Link as a suggestion. You’ll find other features and benefits there as well. 

Maximizing Your Mesh Wifi Network Performance

Maximizing Your Mesh Wifi Network Performance

Mesh Wifi networks have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to provide strong and reliable Wifi coverage throughout your home. But having a mesh Wifi network doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the best out of it. Here are some tips on how to maximize your mesh Wifi network performance.

Choose the Right Location For Your Router/Extender

The location of your router/extender is critical for ensuring maximum connectivity and performance. Generally speaking, the router should be placed in a central area of your home and elevated (e.g., on a bookshelf). Make sure that the router is not obstructed by any large objects or walls, as this could cause interference with the signal. Additionally, keep any other electronic devices away from the router as these can also interfere with the signal. I’m always floored when I see someone has put their router down in the basement (usually a laundry room or utility room) in a room in the far corner of the house surrounded mostly by concrete.

BOOKMARK THIS: Best Place For Your Router

Update Firmware Regularly

Firmware updates often contain bug fixes and new features that can improve your mesh network’s performance. Because of this, it’s highly important to regularly check for firmware updates and install them as soon as they become available. Most routers have the option to enable automatic updates so make sure this is enabled if possible. Don’t be one of those people who ignore these updates either! Don’t procrastinate on the security and performance of your tech!

RELATED: Update Your Router Firmware

Utilize Quality of Service Settings

Quality of Service (QoS) settings allow you to prioritize certain types of traffic over others on your mesh Wifi network. This means that if you want certain applications or devices to receive priority access over others, you can configure QoS settings accordingly. For example, if you want gaming traffic to receive priority access over streaming video traffic, you can configure QoS settings accordingly. This will ensure that gaming clients get faster speeds than streaming clients even when there is heavy usage of both services simultaneously.

Most people with mesh Wifi router systems are unaware of the amazing technology they have at their fingertips. Just implementing these few tips above will really help you boost the performance (and purpose) of your router system.   

Mesh Wifi Network: How Do I Know If I Need It?

Do you ever feel like your home Wifi just isn’t good enough? Maybe your coverage is spotty, speeds are slow, or you always seem to be arguing with family members about who gets to use the internet?! If this sounds familiar, then you might need a mesh network. To recap, a mesh Wifi network is a type of Wifi system that uses multiple routers (or hot spots, or Wifi points) to extend the reach of your signal. This means that you can say goodbye to dead spots and dropped connections. Additionally, mesh networks are generally very easy to set up and use, making them a great option for those who are not tech-savvy. I can think of dozen reasons why you’d want a mesh router system. If you’re fed up with your current Wifi situation, a mesh network may be the perfect solution.

However…there are a few reasons I can think of why you wouldn’t need a mesh network. Just because they are awesome doesn’t mean they are a great fit for everyone. First of all, if you live in a small apartment and don’t have very many devices that need to be connected to the internet, you probably don’t need a mesh router system. Secondly, if you’re not really a heavy internet user (you mostly just use it for email and social media), you can ditch the idea of a mesh router system. And finally, if you already have a pretty good Wifi signal in your living space with your current setup, there’s really no need to upgrade to a mesh network. Mesh networks can be great for people who have large homes or a lot of devices that need to be connected to the internet, but in some cases, it might not be necessary.

Mesh Routers I’d Recommend

There are many new mesh routers on the market these days, and it can be tough to figure out which one is right for you. Do you need something that’s super simple to set up and use? Or do you want a router with more features and customization options? Maybe one with robust parental controls? Maybe you want one with ample control over devices? No matter what your needs are, here are my top picks for mesh routers:

Google Nest Wifi

I absolutely love Google Nest Wifi. It has great coverage (up to 6K+ square feet), has great connections, the ability to create a guest network, decent parental controls (I admire the SafeSearch from Google), can handle up to 200 devices connected to your network, and allows me to prioritize and throttle devices connected to my network. Google’s new Nest Wifi Pro is a quality upgrade from their previous versions. Google’s new Nest Wifi Pro is reliable, easy to set up, and provides a stronger and more consistent signal than its predecessors. Plus, it looks great and comes in a variety of colors to match your home decor. And most importantly with all this new and improved technology, the Google Nest Wifi Pro is affordable, making it the perfect choice for anyone looking to upgrade their home Wi-Fi. Some vital key features of this newest version:

  • Supports Wi-Fi 6E
  • Has speeds over 5 Gbps (if your internet provider can deliver those speeds)
  • Tri-band connectivity (super enhanced 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz)

DISCOVER: Can Google Nest Wifi Speed Up Your Internet

EERO Pro Mesh Wifi

Another mesh Wifi I think is a quality option is the EERO Pro. There are a ton of awesome features, but my favorite is the simplicity of setting it up. Out of the mesh router systems I’ve worked with, EERO Pro is the easiest to get going out of the box. Aside from ease of use, it has great connectivity, supports fast speeds (up to a gigabit), creates a strong and reliable network, and supports Wifi 6. The EERO Pro also has one of the most robust parental controls BUT you’ll need to pay an additional monthly fee to unlock those incredible parental control features.

LEARN MORE: Our EERO Pro Mesh Wifi Router Review

Gryphon AX Router

This is a fantastic mesh router system that has largely flown under the radar in terms of popularity compared to the EERO Pro and Google Nest. It has a plethora of features that impress me. The Gryphon AX is easy to use and install, easy to manage, supports blazing fast speeds, blocks ads, has great parental controls (without the extra fees), blocks ads, and has security features that really do protect the devices connected to your network. We have an entire review of the Gryphon AX router with all the good details.

TRENDING: The Gryphon AX Router Review

Final Thoughts On Mesh Wifi Network

Mesh wifi networks offer great coverage throughout your home but they need to be properly managed in order for them to perform at their best. There are some that offer that “set it and forget it” style, but then you’re really not utilizing the mesh router system to its full potential. By taking advantage of quality of service settings, updating firmware regularly, diving into those unique features, and utilizing an optimal location for your router/extender, you can really maximize your mesh wifi system your mesh wifi network performance and enjoy fast speeds wherever you are in your house!

Pirated Software Pitfalls

Pirated Software Pitfalls

Think back: do you remember when artists would release CDs and our friends would run to the store, buy one, bring it home, and copy it for everyone for free or at a cheap rate? Can you remember when the computer app Limewire came out and everyone would play all the new music hits? Back then, pirated music, movies, and software were foreign, but then again, the internet was also pretty foreign. 

Pirating 101

What is pirating? For those who know less about pirating, let’s break it down. Pirating is the illegal download, distribution, and copying of any software, music, program, etc., to which you don’t own the rights. Technically, when a song is played on the radio, and you record it for a ringtone or playback, that’s illegal. Back in the day, we recorded songs on cassette tapes from the radio to give to our boyfriends and girlfriends. Guess what? Illegal. You can not and should not participate in pirating. Period. You can use BitTorrent, a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing (P2P), which enables users to distribute data and electronic files over the Internet. This is a legitimate file transfer system as long as the content can be downloaded or uploaded legally. As with any upload and downloading system, there are pitfalls. 

Pirating Pitfalls

The internet is full of different sites claiming “free downloads” for music, videos, and other software. Even torrents, though legit, can still give users massive problems like malware, viruses, hacking, scamming, and more. Pirating pitfalls can cost you your email, social media accounts, and even your identity. And for what? That new Lizzo song you’ve been dying to hear on repeat? Definitely not worth it. (No offense, Lizzo.)

DISCOVER: Why Music Matters

Malware and Pirating 

Malware and pirating easily go together. Say you pick a new movie to illegally download, thinking it’s coming from a free and trusted site for downloads. You’ve checked some reviews and everything sounds reasonable or so you thought. The malware starts immediately upon “downloading,” infecting your computer programs, and software, and moving to all your stored passwords for your accounts, including your tax information and identity.

Hackers are getting smarter and using SEO practices to “up” their websites on Google and other search engines. The location a website ranks on Google seems legit and more trusted; therefore, hackers are using these techniques to hurt users. Redline Stealer and RecordBreaker are nasty malware software that steals information including saved passwords and even screenshots. Meaning, downloading that new video could cost you your job, savings, home, and identity; all because you wanted to save a few bucks. We discuss ways to secure your smartphone from these hackers, so if you need a refresher–go!

Even if you miraculously survive the initial threat, there are plenty of backdoor malware entrances that hackers install to continue to infect your device. So even if you think you’re safe, you’re probably not. Pirating not only affects you, but it also affects the owner’s rights and income. If you’re not paying for new music, then the artist is getting less money. Pirating is stealing.

Legalities of Pirating

Let’s not forget to discuss the biggest pitfall of pirating: your consequences to the government. Copyright laws protect creators and the art they create. Digital and print media formats are all protected through copyright laws. Illegal downloading, distribution, and profit can not only gain you malware and viruses but also a large fine and jail time. 

Yes, we did say jail time. You can find this information anywhere you search the internet. The RIAA, which is the music and recording industry, states that individuals who pirate software can receive up to a $250,000 fine, a felony on their record, and up to five years in jail. Just in case you needed a breakdown for you or as a warning to your children, friends, or loved ones.

Most adults these days who grew up near the internet’s birth, know a thing or two about piracy. Many of us had it drilled into our brains to never download anything, anything at all. However, as younger generations hop onto the internet via their smartphones, they might not realize the song or movie they downloaded for free, is actually stealing their data and using it against them–and their parents. Once again, you need to think like a hacker to avoid getting fooled. Even the newest phone editing and picture modifying apps might be secretly coded to infect your teenager’s phone. They bring it into your home, use your WIFI, and boom— your entire network is hacked. 

Talk to your kids about pirated software pitfalls, and check out ways to protect your home’s devices and avoid viruses.  

LEARN: Music Piracy Laws

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