Android becoming mobile malware magnet, says report

Android becoming mobile malware magnet, says report

Summary: As for the breakdown of Android malware, Blue Coat noted 58 percent was Android root exploits and rogue software.


The Android platform is becoming a key mobile target for cybercriminals, who are getting much more efficient with their malware, according to a Blue Coat Systems report.

In a mobile malware report, Blue Coat notes that Android is a popular target. Here's a look at the volume of Android malware:



Blue Coat noted:

The Android-based malware blocked by WebPulse included an Android root exploit and a variety of rogue Android software. Forty percent of Android malware was delivered via malnets, demonstrating how cybercriminals can successfully utilize embedded infrastructures to attack mobile users. In the most recent six months, WebPulse also blocked an increasing number of unique malicious Android applications.

As for the breakdown of Android malware, Blue Coat noted 58 percent was Android root exploits and rogue software. Android malware via malnets---networks designed to deliver malicious payloads---was 40 percent of the total.

The Android malware issue is increasingly a buzz kill for the enterprise. CXOs are balking at having to support multiple flavors of Android and have largely focused on Apple's iOS for their bring your own device policies.

Another notable nugget from the Blue Coat report was that pornography is a key threat vector on mobile devices. The catch is mobile users go to porn sites less than 1 percent of the time.



Blue Coat said:

In 2012, the most dangerous place for mobile users was pornography. More than 20 percent of the time that a user went to a malicious site, they were coming from a pornography site. It is important to note that mobile users are going to pornography sites less than one percent of the time. When they do visit pornography sites, though, they have a high risk of finding a threat.

Interestingly, when malware first moved to the Internet, pornography was one of the leading sources of malware for desktop users. The prevalence of pornography as the leading threat vector for desktop users has ebbed, giving way to attacks that target much larger user populations, such as search engine poisoning.

In the desktop environment, pornography continued to fall as a threat vector as it became easier to target a large number of users on places like search engines or social networking sites.

Topics: Security, Android, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • Makes you wonder

    how much is written at Apple or MS.
    • The Explanation is simple.

      Bloat Coat has a malware protection product for Android:

      In other words, the 'report' is promotional material for their product.

      The author of this 'article' is Larry Dignan, who is "Editor in Chief of ZDNet". Surely it doesn't take an editor-in-chief to see how publishing this as an 'article' degrades ZDNet.
    • I hear Google has an entire building of programers

      that do nothing but write malware for Windows based systems, and that they just added a wing that focuses exclusively on OS X
      William Farrel
      • Yeah,

        And I heard that Symantec and McAfee have been writing viruses for Windows for years in order to push their antivirus products. (I've heard that one as far back as the early 1990's).
    • exactly

      Android has only apps you approve (you can normally uninstall), this with iOS is more serious problem:
      "40% of iOS apps invade your privacy without permission"
      • No no no

        google is the evil one, please don't confuse the issue suggesting that other companies may not hold your privacy above all else.
        Little Old Man
        • evil?why?because he fight for freedom, fight against thiefs Microsoft Apple

          Evil? Could you be concrete here or you just lie?
      • Re: "40% of iOS apps invade your privacy without permission"

        The problem is that IOS has no Android-style sandboxed-permissions system. If an Android app wants access to your personal contact info, your GPS location etc, or even just wants any kind of network access, it has to declare that in its manifest, which the user can check before downloading it. With IOS you have to trust Apple's vetting process instead.
        • yes, Android is really more mature

          thats the reason iOS is more dangerous than iTunes there already has been some malware......and very probably still is and there is no control on user side like on Android
  • Root Exploit - sounds scary

    Or is it just that people are rooted and have superuser access? I know MS flags superoneclick as malware in Security Essentials.
  • that's FUD folks!

    just ignore it and move along.
    malware comes only with windoze.
    LlNUX Geek
    • good old days

      I miss the good old days, when the Linux diehards at least knew what they were talking about.
  • something doesn't make sense here

    So having one flavor of iOS is going to be better than multiple "fragmented" versions of android. That gives a more unified target. So, there are no drive by threats in iOS but are in android? We know there have been drive by jailbreak sites. But, they both use modern security models, unlike the old crappy windows one. I would think if anything the risk would be very low and roughly equal for both of them. The risks from android come from less rigorous inspection of play store submissions, for which the bouncer is improving over time, and android allows instalation from unknown sources. Fortunately that is not by default and I don't see many non savvy users being drawn to install random apk's and allowing unknown sources seeing how the play store is convienient and well stocked. Newer android versions also do an automatic check of sideloaded apks. Outside of china maybe, I doubt there is any significant real malware issue if you just stick to the play store.
    • But they're not.

      Newer android versions also do an automatic check of sideloaded apks.

      A very good reason more phones should be running newer Android versions.
      Aleks Shindig
  • Android becoming mobile malware magnet, says report

    Becoming? Its been a malware magnet for quite some time. Bluecoat is behind the times on this one. Its funny because we were told that linux couldn't have these types of problems. HAH!
    • Trying to proclaim some type knowledge

      Explain the difference between Linux Kernel used with Android and a Linux Kernel used with say Fedora distro.
  • This is quite obvious

    Malware it's "better" when reaches massive proportions, android it's the best option for malware makers for mobile.
    • That's what happens when the developer doesn't give a darn about the user

      Google doesn't care that you are stuck with a 4 revisions behind on the OS ... stuck on a version that is full of holes.

      While Gingerbread is currently in more than 80% of the devices sold today, Google hasn't release A SINGLE patch to the over 50 thousand vulnerabilities that it claimed fixed by JB.

      While others companies (including most Linux distros) constantly release patches to older version, Google just says "F* you user" ... buy a new phone if you want the update.

      They are getting all your private info. They don't care if your phone is compromised and turned into a bootnet (while you pay for the bandwidth).
      • 80%

        got any figures to support that? I only ask because current statistics show JB as the growth version while GB declines. It surprises me that only 20% of android handsets sold can have such a dramatic effect on the usage %'s.
        Little Old Man
  • FUD

    "Android becoming malware MAGNET"? Is the graph not labeled properly or were there only a little over 200 incidents in September? For millions of Android users? Nothing about why the number dropped from 1000 incidents in June? The data is four months old?

    This is a terrible article and not what I've come to expect from Mr. Dignan. Even the writing is bad.