Android Mobile Security

It’s been a worrying time for Android users in recent months with a noticeable spike in mobile malware aimed at Android, particularly mobile payments. A report that analysed data collected from Kaspersky’s cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network identified the two major factors for cyber criminal motivation as: targets that have a good chance of success and attacks likely to generate profit. No, surprise then that Android is the biggest target for mobile malware with around 85% of the overall mobile platform market.

Android is viewed as a more open platform than competitors, as well as being less secure thanks to the fact that it allows the download of third party apps. Kaspersky Labs estimated that some 98% of mobile threats are currently directed at Android, with 175,442 new, unique malicious programs created directly for Android in the first half of this year alone. In the period August of 2013 through March of 2014, Kaspersky saw attacks jump from 69,000 a month to nearly 650,000. Countries where SMS mobile payments are used the most are those where the attacks are the most common, including Germany, India, Russia and Vietnam.

Some of the latest developments in mobile malware include the Svpeng malware, which is designed to steal money from a bank account, rather than a mobile phone. It uses as ‘previously unknown vulnerability’ to stop itself being removed by an antivirus program, or manually. Malware technology has also evolved to use Google Cloud Messaging – botnets are now often the malware of choice and with Google Cloud Messaging, botnet owners can operate without a C&C server and reduce the possibility of being found and blocked by law enforcement agencies. There are also new techniques that allow malicious Android applications to be hidden inside images – this helps the malware avoid detection by antivirus programs.

So, these are unnerving times for Android users given that the number of attacks is likely only to increase – the only thing we can say with any certainty is to keep an eye on your device and your bills and ensure your security and antivirus protections are up to date.

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