600% Hike in Android Malware Attacks

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Is there ever  a day when we don’t hear about how Android users are being targeted and attacked in some way or the other? This time around Kaspersky has turned up with some not-so-good news. Android, it seems, is not having such a good time.

Never a Good Day

Between the period of Augsut 2013 and July 2014, the open source and highly targeted platform saw over 588,000 users fall prey to financial malware. This is six times more than the trends we saw in the previous year.  Android users have to worry about all sorts of things from malicious apps holding their data for ransom (in their own phone), to losing their personal details to a security hole because of a bad app.

From this 600% hike around 60% of all attacks have tried to gain access to some form of financial information. For Android users this means bad days ahead. More and more people are now plugging their bank information into their phones, it’s just the most convenient thing to do. But apparently, it could be the worst thing to do. The survey produced by Kaspersky was a collaborative effort with the INTERPOL, that’s how serious this problem is. “During the past few years, we have witnessed the rise of mobile cyber threats which have become more complex and intelligent enough to target specific entities. With the mobile market growing exponentially, it is clearer that these threats are mutating to include new attack vectors allowing the exploitation of personal smart devices,” said Madan Oberoi, Director of Cyber Innovation & Outreach at INTERPOL’s Global Complex for Innovation.

The Fine Print

From the attacks that were studied and observed over 1.98% are of the Trojan-banker variety while the remaining 57.08% are from the SMS malware category. Putting the two together gives a hacker all sorts of leverage and ease through which he can hack a target. Their passwords and login details become the hackers for the taking.

“A successful Trojan-Banker infection can give a fraudster access to all of the victim’s money, while a Trojan-SMS needs to infect dozens or even hundreds of devices to show a worthwhile profit. In addition, not all owners currently use mobile online banking applications. That’s why there is such a difference in the number of Trojan-SMS and Trojan-Banker attacks registered by our products,” said Roman Unuchek, senior virus analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

The current report only reflects targets that are mostly Russian. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of Android users should find themselves any safer than the others. There are several other countries mentioned in the report that have suffered due to malware including Germany, India, France, UK, Spain etc. however it is important to note that the attacks observed here weren’t as high in number.

Android has a long way to go before it can claim to be a fool proof platform. In realistic terms no platform will ever be able to do that, but Blackberry came pretty close. A 600% jump in malware is no joke, and getting serious about the situation is the only route Google has now.

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