Android: Top Three Malware Threats and Solutions

By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 09-25-2013 Email Print this article Print

Google's Android, the dominant mobile operating system, is the primary target for malware attacks, according to a study released by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Android remains a primary target for malware attacks "due to its [large] market share and open source architecture," according to the report. Furthermore, 44 percent of Android users are still using versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7, known as Gingerbread, which were released in 2011 and contain security vulnerabilities that were fixed in later versions. The growing use of mobile devices by federal, state, and local authorities makes it more important than ever to keep mobile OSes patched and up-to-date, the report notes. Flip through the following eight slides to learn more about the report, which has been published by the Public Intelligence Website. 

  • Malware Threats to Mobile Operating Systems in 2012

    Android: 79%, Symbian: 19%, iOS: 0.7%, Others: 0.7%, Windows Mobile: 0.3%, BlackBerry: 0.3%
    1-Malware Threats to Mobile Operating Systems in 2012
  • Types of Security Threats

    The report outlined security threats and mitigation strategies for the following: SMS (Short Message Service or text message) Trojan horses, rootkits, and fake Google Play domains
    2-Types of Security Threats
  • SMS Trojan Horses

    Almost half of the attacks on older Android OSes are done by SMS Trojans. Without the user's knowledge, the Trojans send text messages to premium-rate numbers that are owned by cyber-criminals. These texts result in exorbitant charges to the user.
    3-SMS Trojan Horses
  • What To Do

    Install an Android security suite designed to combat SMS threats. Suites can be purchased or downloaded free from the Internet.
    4-What To Do
  • Rootkits

    In late 2011, a rootkit was discovered running on millions of mobile devices. It logged users' locations, keystrokes, and passwords without their knowledge.
  • What To Do

    Install the Carrier IQ test, a free application that detects and removes the malicious software.
    6-What To Do
  • Fake Google Play Domains

    Google Play enables users to browse and download entertainment and media including music, books, magazines, movies and TV programs. Fake Google Play Domains are sites that cyber-criminals create to trick users into installing malicious applications so that they can steal sensitive information.
    7-Fake Google Play Domains
  • What To Do

    Install only approved applications. Follow IT department procedures to update devices' OSs. Users should install and regularly update Android antivirus software.
    8-What To Do
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.


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