December 27, 2012

How to tell if your phone has been hacked [UPDATED]

Man using cell phone

We all know that smart devices are pretty clever these days, but does your smartphone or tablet seem to have a mind of its own? If you suspect that it does, it may be infected with mobile malware.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself to identify if your device is impacted:

Category:   malware  •  Mobile Tips + Tricks  •  Phishing  •  Viruses  •  Vulnerability
December 25, 2012

Lookout now available for Kindle Fire!

Just in time for all those new toys to be unwrapped, you can now get Lookout Mobile Security – and all of the essential protections you have come to know and love – free for your Kindle Fire HD!

Available in English, Lookout is optimized for your new Kindle Fire device, with all of the free Lookout services you have come to know and love.

Category:   Android  •  iPad  •  iPhone  •  Kindle  •  Lookout News  •  Releases  •  User story
December 24, 2012

How to Manage Lookout on All Your Devices

If its wrong to own two smartphones, a Kindle, a tablet and two computers, I don’t want to be right.

Since I can’t live without them, I need to know they’ll be secure whenever and wherever I roam.

At Lookout, we’re working our way to protecting every device in the world and Lookout is available for devices on Android and iOS platforms including smartphones, iPhones, iPads, the iPad mini and now Kindles!

Here are the steps I take to manage my devices (up to two at a time with Lookout’s Free and Premium accounts):

First, make sure you have a Lookout account! You can sign up when you download Lookout on any device.

To add/manage new devices:

  • If you haven’t already, download Lookout on your new device from the Google Play Store, or the Apple App Store. After you install Lookout, choose “Existing User” and enter your Lookout account information. This will add the device to your Lookout account.

  • You can also log into your account from your computer or tablet and click on the “Add a new device” button on the left-hand side. Then choose your country and enter your number and it will send a link to the device to download Lookout. The link will look like this:

If you want to change your devices:

  • If you’d like to change the devices Lookout is protecting, log into your account from your tablet or computer and click on the device you wish to deactivate on the left-hand side. Then click on the “Settings” tab, scroll to the bottom and click the blue text link “Disable Lookout for this device.” You can now add a new device to your account.

Category:   Lookout News  •  Mobile Tips + Tricks
December 20, 2012

Lookout Crime Solver: Botswana

Last week, Lookout helped doctors in Botswana track down a stolen tablet and laptop that was carrying confidential medical information.

With assistance from the police team assigned to the case, Lookout led the chase to locate the missing devices. A successful trace of the tablet led the police and the victim to a crowded settlement in Botswana. The device accurately pinpointed the house, and the police team surrounded its three entrances. The victim set the device to scream, and waited for the sound of the alarm.

Just as the police were entering a suspect’s house, a woman came forth holding a bag that contained the screaming tablet and laptop among other stolen items.

The police were able to recover the device and the confidential medical information was retained.

We know that the information on your tablet or smartphone is personal. As we carry more and more of our most sensitive data around with us, Lookout’s mission is to secure every device wherever you are. We’re pleased to hear that the doctors in Botswana were able to find their device.

If you have a story about how Lookout saved the day, please email us at superusers@lookout[dot]com.

Category:   Lookout News  •  User story
December 19, 2012

Old Phone Nostalgia

Last week, we announced that we had teamed up with companies across the bay area to collect old phones for Cell Phones for Soldiers.  Thanks to Twitter, LinkedIn, Hot Studio, Square, AirBnB, Pandora, Kiva, EA, Jawbone, and Github, we were able to collect hundreds of phones, equating to nearly 12,000 minutes of talk time for troops overseas!  Seeing all of these devices together left us with some old phone nostalgia, and we wanted to take you on a trip down memory lane as we donate these phones to a great cause.

Category:   Integrated Campaign
December 18, 2012

Device Vulnerability on Some Samsung Smartphones

On Sunday, a software developer announced that he had identified a critical vulnerability in some Samsung smartphones and tablets. This vulnerability could allow a malicious application to take full control over a user’s device.

Exploit code was publicly published to the XDA Forum. This code is being actively used in root-enablement applications as a simpler method than using Samsung’s ODIN tool to flash device firmware. While we have no indication that this exploit is being used maliciously at this time, we will closely monitor the situation.

Developers have published a proof of concept patch that takes advantage of the vulnerability in order to fix it. Unfortunately, users have reported that these patches also break functionality such as the device camera. Until an official device patch is released, we urge consumers with vulnerable devices to exercise caution when downloading and installing applications.

The Details
The vulnerability results from a failure to restrict kernel address space mapped to userspace via /dev/exynos-mem on handsets with an Exynos 4412 or 4210 processor. Affected devices include:

  • Samsung Galaxy Note
  • Samsung Galaxy Note II
  • Samsung Galaxy Note Plus
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1
  • Samsung Galaxy S II
  • Samsung Galaxy S III (international only)
  • Meizu MX

The specific device driver, /dev/exynos-mem, is used by the handset camera and other graphics-related functions by three libraries:

  • /system/lib/hw/
  • /system/lib/hw/
  • /system/lib/

How to Stay Safe

  • Only download apps from reputable app stores and check that the developer is credible before downloading.
  • Download a mobile security app for your phone, like Lookout, that scans for malware.
  • Be aware of security vulnerabilities and make sure to update your phone and apps as they are available for your device.
Category:   Alerts  •  Security
December 18, 2012

Lookout Partners with FCC to Launch Smartphone Security Checker to Help Consumers Protect Mobile Devices This Holiday Season

Guest Bloggers: Jordan Usdan & Kevin Almasy, Public Private Initiatives, FCC

More than 20 million Americans will unwrap a new mobile device this holiday season, but most smartphone users admit they don’t know how to protect themselves from mobile security threats. With mobile cyber attacks increasing every year (threats increased 367% in 2011), it’s important that consumers stay protected against growing risks such as viruses, malicious apps, and mobile device theft.

To assist the more than 100 million American smartphone owners, today the FCC launched the Smartphone Security Checker, an online tool to arm consumers with security steps customized by mobile operating system. The tool is the result of a public-private partnership between government experts, smartphone developers, and private IT and security companies. Partners include DHS, NCSA, FTC, CTIA, Lookout, BlackBerry, Chertoff Group, Sophos, McAfee, Symantec, and others. The Smartphone Security Checker is available at

Category:   Integrated Campaign  •  Lookout News  •  Releases
December 17, 2012

Security Alert: SpamSoldier

On December 3, in cooperation with one of our carrier partners, Lookout identified SpamSoldier, a spammer botnet agent that uses infected phones to send a barrage of SMS spam messages without the user’s consent.

All Lookout users are protected against this family of malware, and it appears that the distribution remains relatively limited. Even at these limited distribution levels, SpamSoldier still has the potential to make a big impact at a network level: a single prolonged infection could result in thousands of SMS spam messages.

The Details
SpamSoldier is primarily spread through SMS messages that advertise free versions of popular paid games like Need for Speed or Angry Birds Space. Once the user clicks on a link from one of these SMS messages, their phone downloads an application that claims to install the game. By opening that ‘installer’ app, the user is activating the SpamSoldier trojan.

Once it’s opened, SpamSoldier gets right to work, but first it removes its icon from the launcher to cover its tracks. Meanwhile, a free version of the game in question may even be installed to keep users unsuspecting. The app connects to a remote Command & Control (C&C) server to receive its instructions:

  1. The SMS spam message and;
  2. A list of 100 US phone numbers to spam.

It then churns through that list as fast as the device allows. Once it’s exhausted its list of phone numbers, it calls home to get a new list of 100 numbers – rinse and repeat – until the C&C either doesn’t respond, or the application is closed.

SpamSoldier also attempts to hide any evidence of malicious activity: the user won’t be able to see outgoing messages, and the app also attempts to intercept any incoming SMS replies so that the user remains blissfully unaware of any problems.

Estimated Impact
It appears that the distribution of this malware is limited. Overall detections remain low but we’ve observed instances on all major US carriers. The potential impact to mobile networks may be significant if the threat goes undetected for a long period of time. The primary negative impact appears to be the large amount of SMS messages sent and the potential this has to result in charges to the user and/or a slowdown of the carrier’s network.

The sole infection vector appears to be spam SMS messages; we have not yet detected SpamSoldier on any major app stores.

Technical Details
Consistent with CloudMark’s analysis, we’ve seen a number of different spam campaigns active. Examples include:

  • “You’ve just won a $1000 Target gift card but only the 1st 1000 people that enter code 7777 at hxxp:// can claim it!”
  • “Download Grand Theft Auto 3 & Need for Speed Most Wanted for Android phones for free at hxxp:// for next 24hrs only!”

How to Stay Safe
Lookout Free and Premium users are automatically protected. Here are two tips to keep your phone safe from malware:

  • Only download apps from reputable app stores and check that the developer is credible before downloading.
  • Download a mobile security app for your phone, like Lookout, that scans for malware.

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

Category:   Alerts
December 14, 2012

Bay Area Companies Join Forces to Rescue Old Phones

Last week, Lookout’s Mobile Rescue Squad took to the streets in pursuit of old, unwanted mobile phones – and we came back with a pile of them! Why you ask?

Troops abroad aren’t always able to call home for free, so we teamed up with Cell Phones for Soldiers to help our troops overseas connect with their families during the holidays. We weren’t alone in our efforts.  Exciting Bay Area companies, including Twitter, LinkedIn, Hot Studio, Square, AirBnB, Pandora, Kiva, EA, Jawbone, Github all contributed to the cause by donating their old, unused phones.

This collaborative effort resulted in the donation of hundreds of phones, equating to 11,580 minutes of free talk time for U.S. soldiers abroad.

Category:   Lookout News
December 13, 2012

2013 Mobile Threat Predictions

Forecast for the year ahead in mobile malware distribution methods, profit-making schemes and privacy threats

The mobile era is underway, and 2013 will find people more dependent than ever on their mobile devices to control countless aspects of their personal, public and business lives. The possibilities of this trend are exciting, but heavy reliance and a trove of information on devices are enticing to attackers, putting people, businesses and their most sensitive data at risk.

In 2013, people will purchase more than 1.2 billion mobile devices, surpassing PCs as the most common internet access device in the world. Mobile platforms will continue to expand at breakneck speed, as people are forecast to download over 70 billion mobile apps in 2014.

2013 Prediction Highlights

  • Globally, we estimate 18 million Android users may encounter mobile malware from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2013.[1]
  • Toll fraud will continue to dominate as the chosen monetization strategy for mobile malware writers.
  • Mobile spam will increase in volume, become a growing nuisance and turn into a new threat vector.
  • The use of surveillanceware (like FinFisher) for political espionage will increase.
  • Finding the right balance between protection and employee empowerment will be the business challenge of 2013.
Category:   #Data  •  Lookout News  •  Security