December 29, 2011

New Year, New Phone: Tips for Getting Started Using Your Mobile Device

If you are one of the 6.8 million people who activated a new Android or iOS device on Christmas Day, we hope you are enjoying your new smartphone or tablet.

You’ve probably already hooked up your email, Facebook and Twitter accounts and sent plenty of text messages. So what’s next?  Here’s a quick checklist to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything to set up and secure your new device:

  • Download a mobile security app (would you expect our first tip to be anything else?): Whether your new phone or tablet was a gift from your family or from yourself, protect your investment!  Lookout will help you keep your device safe by protecting it from mobile threats, backing up your precious data, and helping you locate your device if it is lost or stolen.  So before you download any other apps, download Lookout!
  • Set a passcode:  While it may seem like a hassle to unlock your device every time you use it, this is your first line of defense if your phone or tablet is ever lost or stolen. And it will keep you from butt-dialing any of your contacts.
  • Set up your voicemail:  This is easy to overlook when you are setting up your phone, but even if you don’t personalize your greeting, make sure you set a passcode so that no one can access your voicemails besides you.  Just go into the Voicemail app on your phone and follow the insrtuctions to change your greeting.  To change your password on iOS go into Settings > Phone > Change Voicemail Password.  On Android, go into Voicemail > Menu > Settings > Personalize voicemail.
  • Make sure your software is up to date:  When you get a notification that there is a new software update available for Android or iOS, download it as soon as possible so that your device receives the latest feature and security updates.
  • Start downloading apps One of the best parts of having a smartphone is having access to thousands of apps.  They will help you take notes, snap pictures, find daily deals and pass the time – so browse through the Android Market or App Store and find your favorites.

Once you complete these 5 steps, you can search for apps, surf the web and browse social networks with confidence, knowing that your data and shiny new device are protected.

For extra protection, you can upgrade to Lookout Premium for Android  for $29.99/year or $2.99/month.  If you upgrade between now and Dec 31st, we will donate $5 of your Premium subscription to Room to Read!

Category:   Lookout News  •  Lookout Premium  •  Missing Device  •  Security
December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays from Lookout, Help Us Foster Literacy

The holiday season is a time to reflect on the past year and give thanks. Here at Lookout, we feel very grateful for our great customers, co-workers, and opportunities ahead! In the spirit of the holiday season, we’ll be donating a portion of all annual Lookout Premium subscription proceeds to help foster childhood literacy. Starting today until December 31, 2011, for every one-year subscription to Lookout Premium for Android purchased, we’ll donate $5 to Room to Read.

Room to Read is a great organization working in developing countries to advance literacy skills and reading habits among primary school children while supporting girls to complete secondary school with the life skills they’ll need to succeed in school and beyond.

You can upgrade to Lookout Premium for only $29.99/year by visiting or click on the upgrade to Premium button within your Lookout app.

With your Premium subscription, you will enjoy these additional security features:

  • Safe Browsing to shield you from web-based fraud
  • Photo Backup to protect your precious memories
  • Remote Lock and Wipe to secure and erase the data on your phone if it is lost
  • Privacy Advisor to help you make smart choices to protect your privacy

Thanks for partnering with Lookout to help give back this holiday season.

Happy Holidays from Lookout!

Category:   Lookout News  •  Lookout Premium
December 21, 2011

Apps to Stay Safe and Sane During the Holiday Season

With the holiday season in full swing, many of us are busy shopping for presents, planning trips out of town, and making last minute holiday arrangements. While this may be the most wonderful time of the year, the holidays can also be a bit hectic. That’s why we pulled together a list of some great apps that can help you stay “safe and sane.” With these apps in hand you can navigate this busy season with ease…happy holidays!

Category:   Lookout News  •  Lost Phone
December 20, 2011

Lookout’s CEO Honored as One of Forbes’ 30 Under 30!

Forbes just unveiled their list of exceptional players in the mobile and social category, and we’re in the honored to say that our founder and CEO, John Hering, was singled out for this prestigious award! He is joined by some of the industry’s best, including Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Adam D’Angelo (Quora), David Karp, (Tumblr), Kevin Systrom (Instagram), and Joe Green (

Category:   Lookout News
December 13, 2011

Malwarenomics: 2012 Mobile Threat Predictions

In the past, malware developers have concentrated on over 1 billion PCs in the world. However, as the number of mobile users has skyrocketed, smartphones have become an attractive target for malware producers. There are three motivations for malicious activity — fame, fortune and politics. We will see maturation in all areas, but we expect fortune-seekers to really come into their own in 2012.

Like any business, malware writers are continually inventing new ways to expand their reach and profit. The potential “addressable market” is enormous: while the electric grid serves 80% of the global population, the wireless grid already reaches 85% of individuals worldwide (Mary Meeker 2011 Internet Trends Presentation). In addition to size and growth, the market also has an attractive attribute that can make fraud simpler to conduct: a built-in payment mechanism.

Likelihood of Encountering Mobile Threats

2011 has seen the emergence of a credible field of Android malware, with a 4% yearly likelihood of an Android user encountering malware, which was a significant increase compared to the beginning of the year. In the beginning of 2011 we measured a 1% yearly likelihood. In total, we have identified more than 1000 instances of infected applications, which is a doubling since the beginning of July 2011.

Because Web-based threats, such as phishing, can carry over from the PC, the likelihood is higher than that of malware, which needs to be redeveloped for mobile devices. The global yearly likelihood of an Android user clicking on an unsafe link is 36% (6% higher than July 2011). In the United States, the likelihood is higher than the global average at 40%.

Category:   Lookout News  •  Privacy  •  Security
December 13, 2011

Lookout for Android is now available in German!

Today we made another major stride with our international expansion – we launched a German-language version of Lookout for Android!

The smartphone revolution is global and 30% of our current users call home somewhere outside of the U.S.  With a significant number of Lookout users already in Germany, we wanted to offer a localized product to create the best user experience for German-speaking users. Germany is the first country where we are launching a localized product, and it is certainly not the last.

Looking at the prevalence of mobile threats in 2011, we found that in Germany, the likelihood of an Android user encountering malware is 6%, which is slightly higher than the global average of 4%. Interestingly enough, we found that while Germans are more likely to encounter malware, they are less likely to click on an unsafe link compared to the global average; the yearly likelihood in Germany was only 15%, while globally it was 36%.

Lookout’s German app offers the same essential, free security features U.S. users have come to depend on. Additionally, those that are interested in Lookout Premium can upgrade for €2.49/month.

If you speak German (or if German is your native language) and you want to stay up-to-date on the latest security trends, check out our German-language blog or follow our German Twitter.


Category:   Lookout News  •  Security
December 11, 2011

Update: RuFraud: European Premium SMS Toll Fraud on the Rise

Looking for more information on mobile threats like RuFraud? Check out Lookout’s Top Threats resource.

Update: Since this post was first published on December 11th, Lookout detected 5 additional RuFraud apps in the Market. As of December 13th, 27 applications have been found to contain instances of RuFraud. See below for the full list of apps.

There has been a rash of premium SMS toll fraud apps in the last few months that have primarily targeted users in Europe. These apps have often purported to be downloaders for well-known third party software (often freely available software such as Opera Mobile), and have primarily been found on file sharing sites and alternative markets.

Just this week there have been several waves of a new threat, RuFraud, posted to the official Android Market. The initial batch appeared as horoscope apps with a fairly hidden ToS indicating charges. The initial application activity presents the user with a single option to continue, which is presumed to be an agreement to premium charges that are buried within layers of less than clear links. The Premium Short Codes used could affect users in Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Czech Republic, Poland, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Latvia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Estonia as well as Great Britain, Italy, Israel, France, and Germany. North American users were not affected as the fraudulent SMS code is gated on the user’s country (as indicated by their SIM).

In the last week we have notified Google of 9 identical applications that were skinned to appear more appealing to potential users: three wallpaper apps for popular movies (including Twilight), and three apps purporting to be downloaders for popular games such as Angry Birds and Cut the Rope. Google responded quickly to our reports and pulled these apps from the Android Market. At the time of removal these applications had only been downloaded by a handful of users, and the severity of the threat was still very low.

Overnight, the fraudsters have posted 13 new supposed downloaders to the Android Market, once again positioned as free versions of popular games. It appears that these apps may have reached a broader audience while published to the market: we estimate upwards of 14,000 downloads of these apps.  Google responded to reports from Lookout and others by pulling these apps from the Market. We’ve deployed an over-the-air update that protects Lookout users from all known instances of RuFraud.

The full list of applications (with package name) that have been found to contain instances of RuFraud (sorted by developer) include:

Category:   Attacks  •  Security
December 8, 2011

Heading Out of Town For The Holidays? Don’t Forget To “Pack” These Apps

December is a month to reflect upon the past year with all your closest friends and family around you, which might mean a little travel time on your calendar. Here at Lookout, we want to make sure your holiday vacation is as memorable as it can be without your typical traveling hiccups. With these awesome apps at your fingertips, the sky is the limit. (Unless you’re vacationing to the moon; we don’t know if there’s much network signal in Outer Earth.)


Some of us can’t plan a trip to the store, let alone an entire vacation. That’s where TripIt steps in. This highly useful app creates a holistic trip itinerary so people like you don’t have to. Available on Android and iPhone


The catchy name goes along with an equally catchy app. HipMunk is a travel search tool that puts all relevant flight and hotel results in an easy-to-use visual timeline. Algorithms that sort optimal flights by ‘Agony’ and best lodging options by ‘Ecstasy’ are fun, clever and quite useful. Available on Android and iPhone


Have a fear of flying? Well, this app won’t help you. It WILL however give you real-time status updates for gates, delays, and cancellations. So whether you travel once a year or once a month, FlightTrack can be your new best friend at the airport. Available on Android and iPhone


Vacations are a horrible thing to waste. So why let time tick away while you wait for a table to open up at the best restaurant in town? With OpenTable, you can make reservations right from your smartphone so you can dive into the best part of every holiday season– great food. Available on Android and iPhone

Lookout Mobile Security

What’s a surefire way to take the air out of a long-awaited vacation? Losing your beloved smartphone, that’s how. With Lookout’s Find My Phone feature, you never have to worry about this possibility again! Ask John, Maria, and JonAvailable on Android and iPhone

So, this holiday season, beef up your traveling game plan, and be safe while you’re at it. Happy Holidays everyone!

* Photo Courtesy

Category:   Lookout News  •  Missing Device  •  Security
December 6, 2011

Carrier IQ: What You Should Know

What is Carrier IQ?
Carrier IQ is diagnostic software that comes pre-installed on some mobile devices. Mobile network operators use information gathered on your location and call activity to improve network coverage and reduce instances of dropped calls. Recently there has been a large amount of press coverage over the perceived privacy and security violations posed by Carrier IQ software. At Lookout, it is our belief that much of this coverage has been overstated. While there are a number of real privacy issues at play, based on our understanding Carrier IQ is not malware nor has malicious intent. We do believe that companies big and small should always take a transparent approach when it comes to data they are collecting from people.

To find out whether you have Carrier IQ installed on your Android device, download our free Carrier IQ Detector App from the Android Market.

What information is or isn’t collected?
Based on credible reports, it appears that Carrier IQ has the ability to report the following information:

  • The sequence of dialer buttons to determine phone call destination
  • GPS location information, in some situations
  • The URLs visited from your mobile browser

From our current understanding, CarrierIQ does not appear to have the ability to record SMS messages, email content, or the contents of web pages you’ve visited. In addition, Carrier IQ cannot record arbitrary keystrokes (or buttons you press) from your mobile device.

Why is Carrier IQ getting so much attention?
The biggest issue for most users is that they do not know whether they have Carrier IQ on their mobile device. In addition, there is no clear opt-out path available for those users who do have Carrier IQ installed and would prefer not to have it on their device. To find out if you have Carrier IQ on your Android device, download the Carrier IQ Detector app.

Can I remove Carrier IQ from my phone?
Because Carrier IQ software is deeply integrated with the built-in firmware on the mobile device, users would have to get special device privileges (also known as ‘root’ privileges) in order to remove it. Side effects of this process have the potential to put users at further risk of malware infection, while making devices ineligible to receive firmware updates in the future. If you are sure you know what you are doing and would like to remove Carrier IQ software from your phone, there are a number of guides available online.

How do I know if I have Carrier IQ on my phone?
Lookout has recently released Carrier IQ Detector, a free Android application that can quickly determine whether or not you have Carrier IQ software on your mobile device. Download it Now.

Category:   Lookout Labs  •  Lookout News  •  Privacy  •  Security
December 2, 2011

Carrier IQ Detector Released

Earlier this week we gave our take on Carrier IQ, the mobile network diagnostic tool that has seen an increasing amount of scrutiny recently. Since that time, we’ve heard from a number of our users that are increasingly concerned that their handsets may contain Carrier IQ’s software. While there are a number of blogs that have posted instructions on how to detect and/or remove Carrier IQ software, these are largely technical in nature and difficult for the average user to follow.

We’ve developed Carrier IQ Detector to help our users better determine whether or not their handset contains Carrier IQ software. This application does not remove Carrier IQ software from your device. Because Carrier IQ software is deeply integrated with handset firmware, users would be required to attain special device privileges in order to remove it. Side effects of this process have the potential to put users at further risk of malware infection while making devices ineligible to receive firmware updates in the future. If you are sure you know what you are doing and would like to remove Carrier IQ software from your phone, there are a number of guides available online. If you have made previous attempts to remove Carrier IQ software from your device, our Detector may still report its presence. This can be caused by incomplete removal attempts that do not remove all relevant files.

We’re committed to protecting the privacy and security of our users, and will continue to actively engage on this topic.

Category:   Lookout Labs