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Likelihood Of Android Infection Has More Than Doubled In Six Months

Thirty percent of mobile users are likely to click on an unsafe link, Lookout study says

Android users are two-and-a-half times as likely to encounter malware today than they were six months ago, according to a study published this week.

The study, which was conducted by Lookout Mobile Security using its mobile monitoring technology, looked at trends on about 10 million mobile devices.

"Web-based threats which operate across platforms have emerged as a significant part of the threat landscape," the report says. "Three out of ten mobile users likely to click on an unsafe link -- including malicious and phishing links -- over the course of a year."

GGTracker, discovered in June 2011, is the first known Android malware that specifically targets U.S.-based Android users, according to the report. This malware signs users up for premium text message subscription services without their knowledge, charging $10 per service to a person’s phone bill.

During the first half of 2011, Lookout found that attackers repackage legitimate applications with malware, posting Trojan-bearing programs to app stores and download sites, the report says. More recently, malware writers have begun using malvertising, and Lookout also has seen an "update attack" in which an attacker initially publishes a legitimate application with no malware -- and once there is a large user base, the attacker releases an update that includes malware.

During the first half of 2011, the number of unique apps with malware found on markets and download sites grew from 80 to 400 apps, according to the study. Two of the most prevalent threats, DroidDream and GGTracker, were regularly published in new apps during the first half of the year. During this period, the authors of DroidDream released more than 80 unique applications with variations of malware to take control of a user’s phone, Lookout reports.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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