Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

Summary: Another report finds that Android is the most plagued mobile OS when it comes to malware.

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Although open source fans have criticized Android in the past for not being as open source as they would like, that key element to the mobile OS can't be ignored.

And it certainly isn't being ignored by mobile malware developers.

According to a new report from the Juniper Networks Global Threat Center, self-touted as "the world’s only threat center focused exclusively on mobile security," October and November are shaping up to see the fastest growth in Android malware in the history of the mobile platform.

If that's not scary enough, October alone showed a 110 percent increase in malware over the previous month as well as a 171 percent increase from July.

Juniper isn't the first to state that Android has a malware problem. McAfee published similar findings in August that malware targeted towards Google’s mobile OS has skyrocketed 76 percent since the previous quarter.

Juniper sums up why Android is getting hit by malware at a more rapid pace than any other mobile platform rather well:

What happens when anyone can develop and publish an application to the Android Market? A 472% increase in Android malware samples since July 2011. These days, it seems all you need is a developer account, that is relatively easy to anonymize, pay $25 and you can post your applications. With no upfront review process, no one checking to see that your application does what it says, just the world’s largest majority of smartphone users skimming past your application’s description page with whatever description of the application the developer chooses to include. Sure, your application can be removed after the fact—if someone discovers that it is actually malicious and reports it. But, how many unsuspecting people are going to download it before it is identified as malicious and removed?

In a separate report, Juniper reports that that the threat center discovered the largest set of malicious applications aimed at Android users over the past few days. Specifically, the team identified several hundred new “SMS Trojans,” and other text messaging scams stemming from Russia.

Unfortunately for Google and its customers, being the most popular mobile OS for countless months running isn't all smiles and rainbows. Juniper also posits that this latest development in a rapidly expanding ecosystem of malicious Android apps shows that cyber criminals are giving up on older platforms like Symbian and heading for where the action is: Android.

[Image via Juniper Networks]

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Topics: Android, Google, Malware, Mobility, Security

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12 comments
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  • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

    Popularity isn't the question here.

    What's going on is that Google doesn't give two cents about the marketplace. It doesn't have the checks in place to protect against rogue apps like Apple and Microsoft does.

    What Google needs to do is grow a pair and clean house. Having 8764823746283746 apps is nothing when 545364875368 of that is malware.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

      @Cylon Centurion You're full of it man... They just don't stand over the market while gun pointed Attis head. They have the ability to kill the Apps and yank them off the phones just like Apple does.
      slickjim
    • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

      @Cylon Centurion

      Popularity has everything to do with malware targets. It's the same reasoning behind the misconception that Apple's Mac OS was more secure than Windows. When you're aiming to get information on people whether it's for malicious/fraudulent attacks or simple profiling to better serve your advertising spending, you drag your nets where the most fish are and right now Android has the lion's share of the mobile market.

      When Apple started doing increased advertising for their computers with the "Mac and PC" actors, guess what went up? Reports of malware intrusions by Apple product users, because an effort to raise market share (read: profits) by Apple, it inadvertently starts making them worth attacking.

      The vulnerabilities get found in Windows and Android products -because- they're worth finding, because the potential benefits to reap are worth the time, just like dragging your net through a large school of fish.
      ijustmightbecrazy
  • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

    Although, amusingly, though there is an Android trojan that's live in the US and running up premium SMS bills (most Russian and Asian trojans on US Android devices don't cost you anything but processing power because premium shortcodes aren't international), the install screen TELLS YOU that it will send messages while you're playing your game. It's malware with a EULA ;-)
    mary.branscombe
  • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

    Assuming this affects Android tablets as well. Except the Kindle Fire, of course, which has Amazon-vetted apps. Yes, I think Google has a lesson to learn, here.
    Imrhien
    • Amazon has a better app store

      @Imrhien Funny that google hasnt copied them yet..
      otaddy
    • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

      @Imrhien Right, Amazon gave away a free office suite app that had permission to get to take your contacts info and to monitor you text messages. Why would an App need that?
      slickjim
  • Same as Windows and OS/X!

    Common enemies too as it seems Microsoft and Apple are anti-harmony,.
    albionstreet
  • This is expected with a highly vulnerable os like android from a

    company that doesn't give a rat sh!t like google. They don't care about the apps and they don't care about updates. Rule #1 for android phone owners is don't download any apps because you're going to be throwing this phone away. If you want security and reliability and great apps and a great mobile experience go and get a windows phone. You will wish you had done it sooner.
    Johnny Vegas
    • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

      @Johnny Vegas WP is a giant turd!
      slickjim
  • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

    Guess no one considers the spam advertising shown in free iphone and android apps that eat up our precious bandwidth....

    We have 2 android phones at home and 5 in our shop between us techs. NONE of us have any kind of malware other than the carriers crap. For instance, MyExtra's that comes with all metro phones. Now lets count the carriers crap that we have to pay for.... all 5. or the crap that comes in almost all FREE apps. Advertising you know. Have to pound it into people that they WANT to BUY something.
    Nate_K
  • RE: Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

    Two words

    Cyanogen mod!

    It has a technology in it that allows the user to sandbox the App itself and you can even revoke an apps rights! I guarantee you this gets adopted!
    slickjim