July 11th 2012, 12:00 AM

How to Keep Malware Off Your Android Phone

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As the list of infected Android apps grows, here is our advice on how to protect your Android smartphone from malware.

The number of free Android apps that may be infected with malware this week has increased to more than 50.

Although some of these apps might look suspicious, others bearing names such as "Quick Notes" or "Chess" seem innocent enough, and you might not think twice about downloading them.

Tips for a Malware-Free Smartphone

Following are five quick tips to help you keep your Android handset free of malware.

  • Always research the publisher of the app. What other apps does it offer? Do any of them look a bit shady? If so, you should probably stay away.

  • Read online reviews. Android Market reviews may not always be truthful. Check around to see what reputable Websites are saying about the app before you hit the download button.

  • Always check app permissions. Whenever you download or update an app, you get a list of permissions for it. An alarm clock app, for instance, probably shouldn't need to look through your contacts. The general rule of thumb: If an app is asking for more than what it needs to do its job, you should skip it.

  • Android MarketAvoid directly installing Android Package files (APKs). When Angry Birds first came to Android, you could get it only through a third party. This is called "sideloading," or installing apps using an .APK file. Although Angry Birds wasn't malware, in general it is highly advisable not to download and install .APK files that you randomly come across. Most of the time you won't know what the file contains until you install it and by then it's too late.

  • Put a malware and antivirus scanner on your phone. Although many people still think that antivirus scanners on phones are useless, maybe outbreaks such as this one will change minds. Several different big-name security companies already offer mobile-security options, many of them free. I myself had downloaded "Spider Man," which is on a bad-apps list. My Lookout software identified it as a Trojan horse.

Infected-Apps List Published by Android User 'Myournet'

  • Advanced Currency Converter
  • App Uninstaller
  • Chess
  • Dice Roller
  • Falling Ball Dodge
  • Falling Down
  • Funny Paint
  • Hilton Sex Sound
  • Hot Sexy Videos
  • Photo Editor
  • Scientific Calculator
  • Screaming Sexy Japanese Girls
  • Spider Man
  • Super Guitar Solo
  • Super History Eraser
  • Super Ringtone Maker
  • Super Sex Positions

Infected-Apps List Published by Android User 'Kingmall2010'

  • Advanced App to SD
  • Advanced Barcode Scanner
  • Advanced Compass Leveler
  • Advanced File Manager
  • Best password safe
  • Bowling Time
  • Magic Strobe Light
  • Music Box
  • Sexy Girls: Japanese
  • Sexy Legs
  • Super Stopwatch & Timer
  • Supre Bluetooth Transfer
  • Task Killer Pro

Infected-Apps List Compiled Under the Developer Name 'we20090202'

  • Advanced Sound Manager
  • Basketball Shot Now
  • Bubble Shoot
  • Color Blindness Test
  • Finger Race
  • Funny Face
  • Magic Hypnotic Spiral
  • Omok Five in a Row
  • Piano
  • Quick Delete Contacts
  • Quick Notes
  • Super Sexy Ringtones
  • Tie a Tie

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