McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

Summary: Malware is becoming a very dangerous problem for mobile operating systems, and Android is becoming the top target.

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Mobile platforms are anything but safe from malware, based on the second quarter Threats Report from McAfee.

Android, in particular, was found to be the most vulnerable mobile operating system on the market, as malware targeted towards Google's OS has skyrocketed 76 percent since the previous quarter. That's a very sobering statistic for both Android developers and device owners.

McAfee went so far as to call Android the "most attacked mobile operating system," surpassing Symbian OS as the most popular target. Still, Symbian OS and Java ME remain the most targeted to date.

Because of the rapid escalation, McAfee has dubbed this situation as a "Malware Zoo," as McAfee researchers predict that the the grand total of total malware samples will reach at least 75 million by the end of 2011. The total currently stands at approximately 65 million.

Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, explained in a release:

This year we’ve seen record breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity. Overall attacks are becoming more stealth and more sophisticated, suggesting that we could see attacks that remain unnoticed for longer periods of time. High-profile hacktivist groups have also changed the landscape by drawing a line between attacks for personal gain and attacks meant to send a message.

McAfee warned that malware, particularly for Android, could appear in "everything from calendar apps, to comedy apps to SMS messages to a fake Angry Birds updates."

Other highlights from the study:

  • Apple has become more of a target for malware authors as more Mac OS X computers are being affected by fake anti-virus software
  • Stealth malware has increased more rapidly in the last six months than in any previous period with an increase of nearly 38 percent than the same time last year
  • Hacktivists, primarily Anonymous and LulzSec, were among some of the most prominent cyber news generators for Q2
  • At least 20 global attacks were reported in Q2 alone, and with the majority allegedly stemming from LulzSec

On the bright side, spam is being issued at historically low levels.

Related

Topics: Malware, Android, Mobile OS, Nokia, Operating Systems, Security, Software, Symantec, China

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88 comments
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  • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

    This can't possibly be true because Android is built atop Linux and Linux is completely and utterly secure and impossible to infect with malware. Same goes for OSX - Steve & Co. said OSX was impervious to malware.<br><br>Right?<br><br>Right.
    bitcrazed
    • well no

      @bitcrazed
      no one that knows ever made these claims. certainly not steve and co. or any linux guru. now, if you're talking about people that post silly things in web forums, sure, the claim has been made. like other silly claims. see above for an example.
      sportmac
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @sportmac

        A very vocal Linux guru that frequents these talk backs is always going off about how secure and invulnerable Linux is.
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @sportmac

        Yeah, actually Steve & Co [i]did[/i] say that, several times on their commercials. Mac vs PC. google it
        UrNotPayingAttention
      • Message has been deleted.

        bitcrazed
      • Never trust advertising...

        @bitcrazed ...and always read carefully. Note they say ""It doesnt get PC viruses. A Mac isnt susceptible to the thousands of viruses plaguing Windows-based computers...".

        And its true. A Mac cannot get one of the viruses or other malware written for Windows. What they CAN get it malware written for a Mac. Microsoft could just as easily put out an add saying : "Your Windows based PC is invulnerable to the Mac Defender malware!" and it would be true and yet irrelevant because its not invulnerable to the nearly identical scamware written for windows.

        It all comes down to this: Do not trust advertising. Even for products you like
        cornpie
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @all<br>Yeah,someone proclaims they're a Linux guru in a web forum and you take that to the bank. Ok then.<br><br>No one said it's not susceptible. They said it's nt as susceptible as windows and when you look at the amazing holes windows has had over the years it's true. The mac will never have that many holes. Holes? Yes. Thousand and thousands? No.<br>Geesh.
        sportmac
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @sportmac

        Windows doesn't have "thousands of holes".
        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @sportmac Steve jobs has been saying mac's dont get viruses for the longest time. So shut face.
        Jimster480
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @all
        not thousands of holes? perhaps. this is the os that could get a virus through the clip art of a word document.

        shut face? your's is a dizzying intellect. you state jobs has said something with no proof and that ZING just one snappy snappy retort! well done laddie. really. a dizzying intellect.
        sportmac
      • Message has been deleted.

        The one and only, Cylon Centurion
      • Message has been deleted.

        bobiroc
      • Ya, but that hardly tells the whole story.

        @sportmac
        In reality world, meaning not the world of carefully parsed statements so many Apple and Linux enthusiasts live in, far far too many Mac users and Linux users simply poo-poo away the notion that the reason Windows has been breached so many times is that its the big target. They belittle that concept as being at best a secondary reason far and away removed from what they see is the real reason. That is to say that Linux and OSX don't get attacked because its practically impossible to do so. They of course will point out that they have said "practically" impossible. Even if what they hope the world sees is "completely" impossible.

        And here we have what is arguably the most common smartphone OS, being Android having the most at risk security. Right now you can absolutely count on the aficionado's of Android and perhaps even iOS thinking up marginally rational explanations for why Androids popularity has no connection to its risk factor, and yet still not have to admit to any inherent security flaws. A difficult task at best.

        And as so far about silly claims, you can say what ever you want but as many silly claims as Windows users may have ever made, OSX and Linux users have made exponentially more silly claims given their lack of market share.
        Cayble
    • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

      @bitcrazed
      If you disable enough Linux security features you wind up with something as insecure as Windows, I suspect this is the case with Android.

      Linux + sudo chmod -R ugo+rwx /* = Windows
      AndyPagin
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @AndyPagin Keep posting your crap. Nobody believes it anymore except Linux zealots.
        jhughesy
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @AndyPagin

        Funny.. The same can be said about Windows. If you turn off things like UAC, Firewall, IE Protected Mode, run Windows Unpatched and disregard security/safety while browsing your Windows could be compromised.

        Change a few things around specific to that OS and that is true of any Operating System or software.
        bobiroc
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @AndyPagin:

        You forgot that the Windows fan boys can't read Unix/Linux code.
        ZekeStonekiller
      • Message has been deleted.

        RocketEater
    • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

      @bitcrazed

      Read the article again. These aren't viral infections, they are stealth attacks made possible by fooling the user into downloading them. Not an OS issue really. If you're going download unverified apps, or click on any link sent to you, you're going to have problems regardless of OS or device.
      Gozers
      • RE: McAfee: Malware surging on mobile platforms, especially Android

        @Gozers
        HAHAHAAHA a freetard back peddling got to love it. You guys for years have been blaming MS no matter if it was user caused or not. Now that its happening to a linux OS oh no its the user its the user HAHAHAHAHHAHHA
        Stan57