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New virus spreads rapidly using text messages

New virus spreads rapidly using text messages
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

If you haven't explored the weird world of smartphone dating yet, I hope you won't start with Android's latest malicious app. It's called the "Heart App," and simply running the app means you put 99 of your friends at risk.

On the surface, the Heart App looks like a "hook-up" app like Tinder. When you install it, it sends invitations to 99 of your contacts to join you. The invitation directs them to "register" for the service by putting in their personal information.

Once they do that, the app sends out invitations to 99 of their friends, and so on. As you can imagine it's spreading rapidly and stealing a lot of information.

This isn't the first serious virus to take advantage of texting. Learn more about another text virus threat to avoid.

One good bit of news is that you can't get the Heart App in the official Google Play store; it's only available in third-party stores, mainly in China. So it's easy enough to avoid.

To make sure you don't install any apps like this, go to your Android settings, and under Security uncheck "Unknown sources." On some gadgets it's labeled "Allow installation of apps from unknown sources." That restricts you to downloading from the Google Play store.

Even then always be sure to ask a friend about any app they recommend. Chances are good that this might be a virus infecting their system, and letting them know would be doing them a huge favor.

Oh, and be sure to install the security apps available in my list of  top 10 Android apps.

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