Android Malware Quadrupled in Six Months | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

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May 16, 2011 05:06pm EST1 CommentAndroid Malware Quadrupled in Six Months
By Sara Yin2diggsdigg Share22 Android malware samples quadrupled between June 2010 and January 2011, according to a report from Juniper Networks and BullGuard mobile security released Monday.

The figure itself means little, since the size of the Android Market more than tripled from 80,000 to 300,000 apps between August 2010 and May 2011, but as cybercriminals become more sophisticated Android users need to start protecting their phones like they would their computers.

See PCMag’s pick of the top 15 Mobile Security Tools for more information.

The greatest mobile malware risk comes from legitimate apps that have been injected with malicious software and re-packaged for app stores, Juniper wrote. DroidDream, HongTouTou, and Geinimi all used this method.

“Capable of researching, uncovering, and leveraging weaknesses in both Android’s security model and the open ecosystem fostered by the Android Market, malicious individuals took advantage of a market with little oversight and a large and exponentially growing number of new users who were largely uneducated, unaware, or disinterested in mobile security, and being introduced to a plethora of applications for the very first time,” authors of the report wrote.

Since the first piece of Android malware was discovered in January 2010, a bank phishing app, there have been at least a dozen attacks against Android users. Most recently, last month Juniper discovered that the app “Walk and Text” had been pirated and re-packaged by a developer who wanted to “ridicule” users installing pirated apps. The developer pirated the app and side-loaded it to send text messages with the message, “Hey, just downlaoded [sic] a pirated App off the Internet, Walk and Text for Android. Im [sic] stupid and cheap, it costed [sic] only 1 buck [sic].Don’t [sic] steal like I did!”

Apple’s iOS platform suffers from “relatively little known malware,” the authors wrote, with the greatest risk associated with jailbroken devices or jailbreaking utilities directing users to websites that attack the user’s PC.

Lookout Security CTO Kevin Mahaffey warned, “Mobile malware is clearly on the rise, as attackers are experimenting with new business models to make money by targeting mobile phones. Monetization is a key driver in the prevalence of mobile malware—as the business of mobile malware matures and attackers figure out how to make money, more malware will be developed.”

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This post was submitted by prashant agarwal.

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