Mobile

7/1/2015
12:01 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Android Malware On The Rise

By the end of 2015, researchers expect the number of new Android malware strains to hit 2 million.

Although mobile malware hasn't yet been blamed for any major data breach or cybercrime event, attackers are churning out a new piece of Android malware every 18 seconds -- and the rate is trending upwards.  

In the first quarter of 2015, 440,267 new samples of Android malware appeared, and the number may reach over 2 million by the end of the year, according to researchers at anti-virus firm G DATA, which just celebrated its 30th anniversary. That is a 6.4 percent increase over Q4 2014.

"The trend is heading upward," says Andy Hayter, Security Evangelist for G DATA. "Android [malware] is growing and Android [malware] is profitable."

Yet, according to the Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, less than 0.03 percent of mobile devices are infected with "high-impact" malware each year, and mobile phones were not being used in remote attacks.

"We haven't seen the 'Melissa [virus]' for mobile malware yet," says Hayter. "That day will come. I predict sooner, than later. I think it's a matter of installed base and profit."

Hayter says that the use of premium SMS messages and mobile phone banking is not as high in the United States as it is in some other countries, so that may delay the explosion of Android malware used for financial gain. About half the samples (50.3 %) G DATA analyzed were financially motivated malware.

Globally, Android phones have a far higher market share than other smartphone platforms (78%, versus 18.3% for iOS, according to IDC), yet mobile devices have still been used less than desktop devices. That's shifting. According to G DATA's report, the global market share of Android smartphones and tablets used for Internet access exceeded 61 percent in the first quarter of 2015.

As for the malware itself, says Hayter, "It's sophisticated enough ... There are some stand-outs for uniqueness, but nothing that has spread widely yet."

The report outlines two financially motivated Trojans of note. The Svpeng Trojan combines the "functionality of a finance malware program with the potential of ransomware," according to the report. It can steal credentials or other access data when a banking app is used or it can encrypt the device. The Faketoken Trojan steals mTANs (transaction authentication numbers), which attackers can then use to transfer money to their own accounts. 

There's also plenty of cross-platform malware -- that can make the jump from a phone to a desktop client for example -- but nothing significant in number yet, says Hayter.

The concern is that when an Android malware strain really does try to hit hard, the users' devices won't be ready to defend themselves. Although there are anti-virus products out there for Android, Hayter says they aren't in very widespread use.

"Does everyone know they need anti-virus for their phone?" he says. "I don't think they know that yet."

He suggests Android users avoid malware, adware, and other potentially unwanted programs by only downloading from very trusted sources like the Google Play Store or your device manufacturer's store.

Sara Peters is Senior Editor at Dark Reading and formerly the editor-in-chief of Enterprise Efficiency. Prior that she was senior editor for the Computer Security Institute, writing and speaking about virtualization, identity management, cybersecurity law, and a myriad ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
alinafoster
50%
50%
alinafoster,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/27/2015 | 1:35:14 AM
http://www.darkreading.com/mobile/android-malware-on-the-rise/d/d-id/1321130
Android is move on the next level..
Crowdsourced vs. Traditional Pen Testing
Alex Haynes, Chief Information Security Officer, CDL,  3/19/2019
BEC Scammer Pleads Guilty
Dark Reading Staff 3/20/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: Well, at least it isn't Mobby Dick!
Current Issue
5 Emerging Cyber Threats to Watch for in 2019
Online attackers are constantly developing new, innovative ways to break into the enterprise. This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at five emerging attack trends and exploits your security team should look out for, along with helpful recommendations on how you can prevent your organization from falling victim.
Flash Poll
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
The State of Cyber Security Incident Response
Organizations are responding to new threats with new processes for detecting and mitigating them. Here's a look at how the discipline of incident response is evolving.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-4035
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
IBM Content Navigator 3.0CD could allow attackers to direct web traffic to a malicious site. If attackers make a fake IBM Content Navigator site, they can send a link to ICN users to send request to their Edit client directly. Then Edit client will download documents from the fake ICN website. IBM X...
CVE-2019-4052
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
IBM API Connect 2018.1 and 2018.4.1.2 apis can be leveraged by unauthenticated users to discover login ids of registered users. IBM X-Force ID: 156544.
CVE-2019-9648
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
An issue was discovered in the SFTP Server component in Core FTP 2.0 Build 674. A directory traversal vulnerability exists using the SIZE command along with a \..\..\ substring, allowing an attacker to enumerate file existence based on the returned information.
CVE-2019-9923
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
pax_decode_header in sparse.c in GNU Tar before 1.32 had a NULL pointer dereference when parsing certain archives that have malformed extended headers.
CVE-2019-9924
PUBLISHED: 2019-03-22
rbash in Bash before 4.4-beta2 did not prevent the shell user from modifying BASH_CMDS, thus allowing the user to execute any command with the permissions of the shell.