Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

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
 

Recommended Reading:

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..
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
I Smell a RAT! New Cybersecurity Threats for the Crypto Industry
David Trepp, Partner, IT Assurance with accounting and advisory firm BPM LLP,  7/9/2021
News
Attacks on Kaseya Servers Led to Ransomware in Less Than 2 Hours
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  7/7/2021
Commentary
It's in the Game (but It Shouldn't Be)
Tal Memran, Cybersecurity Expert, CYE,  7/9/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Enterprise Cybersecurity Plans in a Post-Pandemic World
Download the Enterprise Cybersecurity Plans in a Post-Pandemic World report to understand how security leaders are maintaining pace with pandemic-related challenges, and where there is room for improvement.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-41392
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-17
static/main-preload.js in Boost Note through 0.22.0 allows remote command execution. A remote attacker may send a crafted IPC message to the exposed vulnerable ipcRenderer IPC interface, which invokes the dangerous openExternal Electron API.
CVE-2020-21547
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-17
Libsixel 1.8.2 contains a heap-based buffer overflow in the dither_func_fs function in tosixel.c.
CVE-2020-21548
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-17
Libsixel 1.8.3 contains a heap-based buffer overflow in the sixel_encode_highcolor function in tosixel.c.
CVE-2021-39218
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-17
Wasmtime is an open source runtime for WebAssembly & WASI. In Wasmtime from version 0.26.0 and before version 0.30.0 is affected by a memory unsoundness vulnerability. There was an invalid free and out-of-bounds read and write bug when running Wasm that uses `externref`s in Wasmtime. To trigger ...
CVE-2021-41387
PUBLISHED: 2021-09-17
seatd-launch in seatd 0.6.x before 0.6.2 allows privilege escalation because it uses execlp and may be installed setuid root.