November 30, 2011

Android Trojan Aims to Make Money Through Premium Rate Text Message Charges

With billions of people around the globe relying on their smartphones and tablets everyday, malware writers are looking for ways to profit from the growing mobile market.  In June, Lookout uncovered and blocked GG Tracker, sophisticated Android malware designed to steal money through premium text messages. This week, another Trojan targeting Android phones was reported that has the ability to send premium-rate text messages to specific phone numbers in Canada and Europe. Researchers claim that the Trojan, Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Foncy, disguises itself as an app for monitoring SMS messages and calls.  Reportedly, Foncy is spread through a file-hosting website, and when someone installs the app on their phone, the Trojan sends four text messages to predefined premium-rate numbers that correspond to their SIM card’s country, including Germany, Spain, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, UK and Canada.

While early instances of malware using premium-rate SMS targeted mobile users in Russia and China, we’re now seeing this type of malware affect mobile users worldwide.  Luckily, there are a number of steps mobile device users can take to stay safe:

  • Only download apps from trusted sources, such as reputable app stores and download sites. Read through the permissions, and remember to look at the developer name, reviews and star ratings.
  • Be alert for unusual behaviors on your phone, which could indicate that your phone is infected. These behaviors may include unusual text messages, strange charges to your phone bill, and suddenly decreased battery life.
  • Download a mobile security app for your phone that scans every app you download. For extra protection, make sure your security app can also warn you when navigating to unsafe websites.
  • Make sure to download firmware updates as soon as they are available for your device.

We’ll post updates as the story unfolds.

Category:   Security
November 23, 2011

What We’re Thankful For

Thanksgiving always makes us reflect on what has happened in the past year. 2011 has been a big year at Lookout, from product and international launches to parties conferences in Vegas. We’re proud to have the opportunity to protect over 12 million mobile devices around the world, and we’re so thankful to have great customers, a great team and lots of exciting challenges ahead.

I polled the company to see what my co-workers were thankful for. Funnily enough, everyone was thankful for our super charming Lookout turkey icon our designer whipped up. It seems that several people were also grateful to work with me, Rachel. But that might have been just one co-worker gaming the Google survey.

Here are a few of the (real) Thanksgiving thanks:

I’m thankful to be alive in a time where you can do what you love (building software), work with great people everyday, and change the world (millions of people are using Lookout). All at the same time. Such moments in history are infinitely rare. Kevin, co-founder, CTO

I’m thankful for pumpkin pie, chicken potpie, pie charts, and Py-thon. – Thomson, data scientist

I’m thankful for Fage Greek yogurt to start the day at work. – Anbu, engineer {Ed. note: It’s true. We have an insanely good kitchen stocked by our awesome office manager, and we’re all grateful for that!}

I’m thankful for good health, because it’s hard to be happy when something hurts; and family and friends, who share and amplify your life with love and laughter. – Mika, program manager

I’m thankful for Bruce Springsteen. – Alex, business intelligence

I’m thankful for ClockworkMod, dex2jar, JRuby, and Stack Overflow. – David, security engineer

I’m thankful for friends, family and co-workers that I look forward to seeing everyday! ­– Rebecca, marketing

I’m thankful for my happy, healthy family, a great job and living in a beautiful area. ­– Jim, operations

From all of us at Lookout to all of you, our friends, family and customers, we hope you have a meaningful season of celebration and thanks… and mobile security!

Category:   Lookout News
November 22, 2011

Best Apps for Holiday Shopping on Your Phone

It’s that time of the year again. With “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” right around the corner, big sales will hit both traditional and online stores. As you start searching for items on your wish list, here are a few great apps and some tips to keep in mind. With the large number of growing discount-friendly and coupon apps as well as new innovative mobile payment options, don’t even think about shopping without your mobile phone!

In order to find the best prices and products this season, all you need to do is consult your phone. What’s better than finding what you’re looking for? Getting a great deal…of course! One application that brings together the physical store with mobile deals is Shopkick. As you walk through a store, the app will send you the retailer’s discounts directly to your phone. And don’t be surprised if the retail clerk who asks if you’re finding everything all right consults a mobile device to answer your questions.  Businesses including Lowes and Best Buy have issued company mobile devices to many employees to encourage sales representatives to use phones to check inventory and help customers learn about products.

You should also have your eyes peeled for QR codes throughout the stores. Use apps (like Google Goggles) to scan the code on in-store signage or product packaging and see product demos or learn more information on how a particular product works. What if the price tag in one store looks too high? You can use your phone to search for an even better deal.  Amazon’s Flow app allows you to take a picture of the item and will quickly locate the same product online, allowing you to compare prices, read comments and reviews, and even purchase the item right from your phone.

You can use your phone for more than finding discounts and information—you can also purchase gifts. If you have Google Wallet on your phone you can simply wave your phone at the register at many retail locations to buy goods.  Another recently released mobile payment app by Square called Card Case allows you to pay for products and services at local merchants by saying your name to complete the transaction. You can use Card Case to simply select a merchant and open a “tab.”  Unlike NFC’s mobile payment system, with Card Case, you don’t even need to wave your phone or preload money. The app automatically opens when you enter the store and you can make purchases with your smartphone without taking the device out of your pocket!

Replacing coupons, catalogues, and wallets—mobile phones have become your best shopping companion during the holiday season. If you plan to use your phone to make purchases on the mobile web or pay for goods at the register—just remember to follow a few quick steps to keep your sensitive data and financial information safe:

  • Put an auto-lock on your device and enable your screen to lock after five minutes.  Even if you step away from your phone for a few minutes–this will help ensure that your information is kept private.
  • Set a strong password. A passcode is the first line of defense in protecting your phone and your data.  Avoid using simplistic codes that can be easily guessed (“1111,” your birthday).
  • Download the software updates for your phone. It is important to stay up-to-date with the software on your phone and apps because they can include patches to security flaws that can put your information at risk.
  • Download a mobile security app that will protect your security and privacy, locate your device if it ever goes missing, and remotely wipe data if the phone is ever stolen.
  • Keep shopping and purchases on public Wi-Fi to a minimum. It is perfectly fine to “window shop” while on public Wi-Fi, but if you are making a purchase and entering sensitive account information, make sure you are using your carrier’s data connection (you’ll see 3G at the top of your screen) or a secure Wi-Fi connection.

By following these safety tips, you can best protect your information before hitting the mall.  For more information you can follow these steps for mobile payments protection! We wish you happy shopping this season (now if only there was an app to help avoid standing in long lines)!

Category:   Android  •  Lookout News  •  Missing Device  •  Privacy  •  Security
November 17, 2011

Quick Guide: Navigating Your Lookout Account

If you downloaded the Lookout app but have never logged in to your account at lookout.com, you are definitely missing out! Just as you log in to Gmail to access your email account, you can log in to your very own Lookout account from our website. Whether you want to find your phone, view your backed-up data, change your settings, or restore your data to another device, your lookout.com account is the place to go. And remember: you can access your lookout.com account from your smartphone, tablet, and computer! In this post, we’ll review everything you can do from your account.

Category:   Android  •  Lookout News  •  Lookout Premium  •  Missing Device  •  Security
November 14, 2011

A Lookout Look Back

It’s been an exciting week (and year) for Lookout. On Wednesday, we launched adapted versions of the Lookout app in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada, and announced our partnership with Telstra, Australia’s leading mobile carrier. And the countries mentioned above are just the beginning.

We may be charging ahead, but we certainly haven’t forgotten our roots.  For an overview of key dates and important events in Lookout’s history, check out the timeline below.

We are continuing to fulfill our mission of protecting smartphone users everywhere and we couldn’t do it without you. We thank you.

Category:   Android  •  Infographic  •  Lookout News  •  Security
November 11, 2011

Lookout Super User: Russell

Occupation: Police Officer

Location:  California

Lookout User Since:  2010

Device Type: Android LG ALLY

Favorite Lookout Feature: Find My Phone

What do you use your phone for? My phone holds valuable information: contacts, photos, emails, confidential work information. I use my phone for just about everything.

How Russell found Lookout: A co-worker suggested Russell download Lookout, saying, “you never know when it may come handy!”

Moral of the Story: Lookout helped me out in a big way—without it, I may never have found my phone!”

How Lookout Saved The Day:

Russell is a law enforcement officer in Northern California. One afternoon, he was dispatched to a high crime neighborhood to conduct a search at a parolee’s house. At some point during the search, Russell took his phone from his pocket and unknowingly set it down. After he had finished searching the house, he and his partner left the residence.

An hour later, Russell went to call his wife and when he reached for his phone, he realized it was not in his uniform pocket! He couldn’t imagine where it could be and he asked his co-workers to try calling it, thinking that it could be in the patrol car somewhere.  Unfortunately, they heard no sound.

Russell remembered that he had Lookout on his phone and hurried back to the police station to log on to his computer. When he prompted Lookout to locate his missing device, he saw a map of this phone’s location.  The map indicated that his phone was in the city where he had conducted the search at the parolee’s residence. Russell grew uneasy as he remembered all the sensitive data that he stores on his phone: photos of his wife, kids, other law enforcement partners and confidential phone numbers. “I can’t have the private info on my phone getting into the wrong hands,” he told Lookout later. He knew that he had to get his phone back—fast!

Russell got in his car and rushed back to the parolee’s residence, hoping that the parolee was not yet home and that no one had found his phone.  When he knocked on the door, Russell was relieved to see the parolee’s grandmother and learned that the Parolee had not yet returned to the house. Russell quickly searched the same room he was in earlier that day. Sure enough, he found his phone sitting on the bed where he had mistakenly left it. Russell was so happy to have gotten his phone back before it fell into the wrong hands. He told us, “Lookout helped me in a big way!”

Category:   Android  •  Lookout News  •  Lost Phone  •  Missing Device  •  Security  •  User story
November 11, 2011

Support for BlackBerry and Windows Mobile Devices

Here at Lookout, we feel honored to have the opportunity to protect millions of mobile devices every day. Our mission is to help people have the confidence to do more with their mobile devices. To fulfill this mission, we have always focused on areas where we can make the biggest impact on the largest number of people around the world. As our business grows, we have had to make tough decisions in order to provide the best possible mobile security. Our growth on iPhone and Android has been explosive and we are sharpening our focus on these platforms.

This means we will be phasing out support for Lookout for BlackBerry and Lookout for Windows Mobile in the next three months. If you are an existing BlackBerry or Windows Mobile user, you can continue using the Lookout app, however we will no longer be making security or feature updates on these platforms. Your data is safe and is still accessible. You can log in to www.lookout.com to retrieve your data.

Starting February 15th, 2012, the missing device and backup features will no longer function. Our support team is ready now to help you transition your data as smoothly as possible. You can contact our support team at support-at-lookout.com.

We want to sincerely thank all of our customers for giving us the opportunity to protect your mobile device. We appreciate your support and we hope we can continue to be your choice for mobile security.

Category:   Uncategorized
November 9, 2011

The Numbers Are In: UK Mobile Users Love Phones Yet Few Take Steps To Protect Them

“If you could save one personal item out of a burning house, what would it be?” If you live in the United Kingdom, chances are you answered your mobile device.

This morning, we announced that a localized version of Lookout is available in the UK. We conducted a survey among 1000 UK mobile users to gain insight into how Brits regard their mobile devices and what steps they currently take to protect their phones. What did the numbers show? Overwhelmingly, mobile users rate their mobile device as the most important gadget they own. Forty-six percent of mobile users said the mobile phone was their most important gadget, 22% cited their laptop/tablet and a mere 18% chose their car. Yet surprisingly few UK mobile users take steps to protect their most personal device.

How important is your phone? In addition to rating their phone as their most important gadget, Brits also most often selected their mobile phone as the one personal item they would save from a burning house. Twenty-three percent named their mobile phone as the one item they would save, 20% specified their laptop/tablet, 18% chose a photo album, 14% said their wallet, 6% answered their keys. The phone is undoubtedly so important because of the information on it. When asked about the most treasured items on their mobile phones, mobile users noted their personal contacts (35%) first, their photos (32%) second and their text or voice messages (9%) third.

What if your phone went missing? When asked, “how long could you ‘survive’ without your phone if it was lost or stolen?” 15% of survey respondents said they could not survive at all, followed by just under a third that said they could last only a couple of minutes to a couple of hours. Similarly, 60% of UK mobile users said they feel ‘connected’ or ‘safe’ when they have their mobile devices with them; while more than 50% feel ‘frustrated’ or ‘anxious’ when they do not have their phone.  Two-thirds of mobile users admit that they worry about losing the personal contacts and information stored on their device

How do users protect their phone? While mobile users clearly value their phones, very few take the basic safety steps to secure their sensitive data. Seventy-four percent of respondents do not regularly back up personal contacts, and 60% of mobile users admitted to having no PIN or passcode set on their device. Only 14% of mobile users answered that they would have a way to track their phone if it was lost or stolen.

Based on the survey results, it appears that while UK consumers treasure their mobile devices, very few take the proper precautions to protect them. With people across the globe relying on their mobile device to store and share important information, it’s extremely important for people everywhere to secure their phones. Lookout’s easy-to-use app protects phones from mobile threats, backs up important data, and can find a lost cell phone if it ever goes missing—thus giving people the confidence to safely explore everything the mobile world has to offer. We look forward to protecting phones in the UK and beyond!

Category:   Android  •  Lookout News  •  Security
November 9, 2011

United Kingdom, Australia and Canada: Say Hello to Lookout!

Smartphones have taken the world by storm, with users in every country. Not surprisingly, mobile threats are global too. They don’t care about geographical boundaries and can impact anyone, regardless of country, in an instant. In fact, throughout the year we’ve seen the number of malicious apps increase to nearly 1000–affecting people worldwide. That’s why today we’re thrilled to announce we’ve extended Lookout’s security experience to the first of many countries around the world. Lookout has always been downloadable by anyone around the world, and in fact 30% of our users are international, but we wanted to make the experience even better for them.

Now smartphone users in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada have access to a regionally adapted app that offers the same high-quality security, find-my-phone, data backup and data restore features that people in the U.S. have come to count on. And this is just the beginning.

As part of going international, we’ve also joined forces with Telstra, our first overseas mobile carrier partnership, as their exclusive mobile security partner. Telstra customers can easily download Lookout from within Telstra Aisle or by accessing the Telstra tab within the Android Market.

Where will you see “localized” versions of Lookout next, you ask? You’ll just have to wait and see!

Category:   Android  •  Lookout News  •  Security
November 4, 2011

iPhone Users Care About Security Too

Are you an iPhone user? Do you use your phone everyday to store and share important information? Do you care about protecting the data on your device? Chances are you answered yes. 93% of iPhone users reported that they have concerns about the security of the data stored on their phone. Check out this infographic to learn more about how iPhone users feel about security for their mobile device.

Click to enlarge

Category:   iPhone  •  Lookout News  •  Security