Android Phone Malware On The Rise

Android Phone LogoA Net-Security.org article states that Android malware continues to rise. F-Secure Labs reports that a new method of distribution of malware to Google Android smartphones has surfaced in the first quarter of 2013—email spam. There appears to be movement from app-based malware to email spam as the method of infecting Android phones.

I suspect the reason for this is that not every smartphone user downloads apps, but most use their phones to check email. Thus, a larger population of potential victims.

Another reason for the rise in malware distribution to these phones is that there is a booming market for exploit kits, malware packaged for sale and made to be very easy to use. This ease of use and relatively low prices for these kits make entry into this lucrative field fairly easy. Thus many more cyber criminals are coming into the Android-injected malware business.

The primary reason more crooks are interested in this Android “market” is that it’s a very lucrative place to be. A large target, indeed. A recent article states that “In the coming years, global mobile payments are predicted to exceed $1.3 trillion, moreover, presenting a mother load of opportunity for cybercrime gangs…” In other words, when a smartphone user makes a payment transaction from his phone, it contains his banking sign-on credentials, account number, and other information that proves his authority to perform such transactions. The interception of these transactions or better yet, taking control of the smartphones by cyber criminals, makes these transactions available to be modified to transfer funds to criminal-controlled banks.

The Android smartphone is the big target today, but we are also seeing movement to attack iPhones too. Again, the mobile banking market is so large—and lucrative that it’s worth the “research and development” to break into all smartphone brands and operating systems.

My advice to help avoid being a victim of the above type of attack is as follows:

1. Don’t perform monetary transactions on a mobile phone…period. They travel over the Internet. And we all know who really “owns” the Internet, don’t we? The cybercrime organizations. A bit of hyperbole, yes, but not far from the truth by any means.

2. Find and install anti-virus and malware software for your phone. Treat it like the computer it is.

3. Check your banking transactions and account balances on a regular basis to identify unauthorized withdrawals or other transactions. Report them to your bank immediately, they may be able to stop very recent ones.

Other articles on this issue:

Mobile crimeware and the global criminal marketplace

Android malware continues to rise

Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.

Please comment on this article; we all learn from each other when our views and opinions are shared.

I hope you found this article of interest.  If you enter your email address in the Email Subscriptions box on the right column of this page, I’ll send you an email when a new article is posted.  I don’t share your email address with anyone…no one; I hate spam too.  Please share my site with your friends and family.  Thanks.

Remember, personal computing is a blast…keep it safe, productive and enjoyable.

Best regards,

Paul

paulsinternetsecurity(at)yahoo.com

I’m also on Twitter, @PaulsInternet.

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and FreeByte.com

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Filed under Cybercrime, Google, Internet Security, malware, Warning

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