But First, Let Me Take a Selfie: Third Party Malware

19 Oct

Third party applications are a blessing and a curse – when properly vetted and secured by practiced cyber security veterans, they can be great tools for added growth and learning at an individual and business level. Unfortunately not all applications display this amount of integrity. Some with more questionable bases are able to bypass safety regulations in order to take advantage of an unsuspecting consumer or organization. This is where cyber security protection and education come into play more than ever – blame is never just on the originating party but the final destination as well. The consumer, be it a single person or larger firm, needs to protect themselves as much as they assume the third party application will do the same.

Take a new strain of malware circulating through third party application stores. Before laying out the red flags in the situation at hand, it should be noted that hackers are going to increasingly greater lengths to make their product look as legitimate as possible. Gone are the laughable spelling mistakes and horrible graphics – in their place are what seem to be normal user interfaces. At this point there are two segments to consider when making the final determination of whether to trust this application: where did it come from, and what is it asking of you as the user? With this particular strain of malware, according to McAfee, it is found in unsavory third party application stores and, not only does it ask for a picture of the user’s ID (front and back), but a picture of the user in question holding their very own ID in front of them.

To be clear, no company will EVER ask you for this information. And if they do, a simple call to their customer service line or well-placed email can serve as unofficial two-factor authentication in making your final decision. But be warned, just because a third party application looks and feels somewhat legitimate, if you, as the user, are having second thoughts, there is no harm in doing a small amount of research to assuage or confirm your fears. Put the onus on yourself as much as the third party application to provide quality cyber security protection.