An increasing number of hackers have begun looking at mobile phones as the source through which they can steal their bank details. Kaspersky has recently released a report which has highlighted that hackers are now doing so because so many people are now getting ready to seriously integrate mobile payments into their lives. And if there is someone trying to steal bank details through people’s phones then the Android platform has to be the first we think of as a security risk.
The Main Details
Kaspersky’s most recent report is a collaboration with the Interpol. It highlights some disturbing facts for Android owners. Around 60% of all attacks between August 2013 – July 2014 were hitting Android so that they could find bank details or to steal money. Android currently holds around 85% of the market when it comes to cellular devices; over 98% of all malware targets the platform because of its open source nature.
Hackers are expanding to mobile devices because it is easier for them to target more users this way. "It is easy to understand why cybercriminals create so many malicious programs targeting Android devices: these days, smartphones are increasingly often used as a tool to pay online for merchandise and services," the report states.
It further explains how such apps can infiltrate a user’s phone. “Apps can be installed through Google Play as well as third parties such as Amazon App store. Third party apps pose a security threat to users who enable the installation of apps from unverified sources. These unverified packages may carry malware that would be installed on a device without the user's permission or knowledge.”
So far most of the damage has been done to users living in Russia. France, India, Germany, Malaysia, Vietnam, Britain, Spain and Ukraine are also on the list of countries that have fallen prey to the problem. During the 12 month period that the study was conducted around 3.4 million malware were detected. This is a huge number that definitely cannot be ignored. What makes matters worse is that the amount of attacks happening every month has spiked 10 times from August 2013 – March 2014.
The current problem stems from Trojan-SMS and Trojan-Banker, two strains of malware that specifically let hackers into bank accounts so that they can steal all sorts of information. If successful, an infection can give the hacker the ability to run off with all of the user’s money, in the case of Trojan-banker. While Trojan-SMS needs to do a little more work. It has to infiltrate dozens of Androids before it can gather a substantial profit.
With mobile payments just around the corner we have to stop and wonder just how good an idea they are to begin with. Especially for an Android user who cannot get away with simply ignoring aspects of their security or privacy related to their phone. Apple has also recently rolled out its own payment mechanism but Apple has never been as vulnerable as Android remains.
It remains to be seen what problems can stem from these systems, for now Android users are not safe and it doesn’t seem like they will be anytime in the future.