Android malware increases by 76%

By on August 24, 2011
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Apple’s iOS not affected.

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In a report issued yesterday, security firm McAfee detailed the rise of exploits on mobile handsets in the second quarter of this year. The threats on Android platform rose by 76% compared to the first quarter of 2011, making it the most targeted platform in the mobile industry.

Java 2 Micro Edition sees its fair share of exploits, while Blackberry and Symbian take a back seat with just 4 exploits targeted towards each platform. ”This increase in threats to such a popular platform should make us evaluate our behavior on mobile devices and the security industry’s preparedness to combat this growth,” noted int the McAfee report. ”While Symbian OS and Java ME remain the most targeted to date, the rapid rise in Android malware in Q2 indicates that the platform could become an increasing target for cybercriminals, affecting everything from calendar apps, to comedy apps to SMS messages to a fake Angry Birds updates.”

“Maliciously modified apps are still a popular vector for infecting devices: Corrupt a legitimate app or game and users will download and install malware on their smartphones by themselves.”

The report stated that most of these malware software actually send out SMS to premium services without the owners knowledge, citing four such cases. Another malware, Android/Smsmecap, actually “sends humorous, irreverent SMS messages to all the contacts in the user’s address book.”

“Android/Toplank.A pretends to be a multiuser update to the popular Angry Birds game. The malware sends sensitive information (international mobile subscriber identity, the list of permissions granted to the malware, etc.) to the attacker.”

It seems that Apple’s often criticized scrutiny for submitting apps does pay off where security is concerned. Still, no platform is safe, and McAfee notes that the fake anti-virus malware ‘Mac Defender’ that infected a lot of Macs earlier this year could be seen on iOS as well, calling it a “case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’”


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From auditing to editing, I now test and analyze the latest gadgets and games instead of the latest financial statements. Both jobs are equally intense and rewarding. When I'm not burning up hardware in the name of science, you'll find me nuking in DOTA 2 or engineering in TF2.

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