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updated 6/18/2012 3:21:08 PM ET 2012-06-18T19:21:08

Mobile anti-virus software is a great way to ensure the safety of your smartphone, especially now, when iPhones, Androids and BlackBerrys are used for much more than just making calls. But behind any good idea, there is a crook looking to make money, and that's exactly what has spurred smartphone scammers to spread a new Android fake anti-virus program.

The program advertises itself as "Android Security Suite Premium," but, as researchers from Precise Security explained, the security software is fake, and once launched it begins an onslaught against your phone and, potentially, your bank account.

The fake AV software, also called Android.FakeSecSuite, appears as a red, green, blue and yellow shield icon and drops a Trojan that steals incoming text messages and device information, shipping them off to a remote server. It is also capable of creating and sending texts, monitoring calls, opening network connections and tampering with the phones of those who download it.

Researchers from Kaspersky Lab noted that Android Security Suite Premium is a variant of "ZitMo," a piece of malware that has been hiding in Android apps in third-party markets and threatening users for more than a year. Itself a variant of the infamous "Zeus" malware,  ZitMo (short for Zeus in the Mobile) attempts to gain access to smartphones in order to harvest stored bank account credentials.

Make sure you run current — and legitimate — mobile anti-virus software  on your device, and never purchase apps or software from a third-party site. If your phone starts behaving strangely, or malfunctioning, or you receive unusual charges on your bill, look for and get rid of bogus software on your device. To remove apps from your Android phone, open the Android Menu, go to Settings and select Applications, then click Manage and, when you find the offending app, click Uninstall.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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