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Scams

Infected Apps Lead to Smart-Phone Scams

You may be downloading trouble with infected apps.

The growing popularity and functionality of smart phones is presenting a tempting target for cybercrooks. Recently, an outbreak of malware (short for "malicious software") infected thousands of Android phones after users downloaded a seemingly innocuous app from the Android Market.

This time, Google, which developed the Android operating system, wiped the threat from infected phones. But don't expect hackers to back off. "They can access your contact list, e-mails, mobile-banking account login information," says John Sileo, author of Smartphone Survival Guide: Ten Critical Security Tips in Ten Minutes. "They can act on your behalf; they can become you."

Signs that your phone is infected may include decreased battery life and slow performance. Fishy calls and texts on your phone bill are a dead giveaway. To find trustworthy apps, experts recommend downloading from reliable sources, such as the Apple Store, Amazon and the Android Market -- exceptions such as the infected application notwithstanding.

For extra coverage, download free mobile security software, such as Lookout Mobile Security, available for Android, Windows and BlackBerry phones.