Why Cyber-Criminals Target Android Devices

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 09-16-2015 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Why Cyber-Criminals Target Android Devices
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    Why Cyber-Criminals Target Android Devices

    A new report forecasts a speedy rise in Android malware this year, outpacing the smartphones' growth in users.
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    Android Market Share
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    Android Market Share

    The global market share of android smartphones and tablets was 61% in Q1 2015. This represents an increase of 6.4% since Q4 2014 (413,871 units).
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    Android Malware Financially Motivated
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    Android Malware Financially Motivated

    50.3% of Android malware is created to steal money. It includes banking trojans, ransomare and SMS trojans.
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    More on Financially Motivated Malware
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    More on Financially Motivated Malware

    More than half of Android malware may be financially motivated: If a malware program installed apps or stole credit card data after a payment was made, the study did not count it as financially motivated by the study.
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    Rapid Malware Increase Expected
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    Rapid Malware Increase Expected

    Nearly two million new Android malware strains are forecast for this year. 4,900 new Android malware files were discovered daily in Q1 this year, an increase of 400 new malware files per day compared to the second half of 2014.
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    IoT Growth to Spur Malware
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    IoT Growth to Spur Malware

    Mobile devices will become the focus of attacks with the propagation of the Internet of things; for example, fitness apps and trackers will be targeted and data stolen if it is not properly encrypted.
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    New Malware per Second
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    New Malware per Second

    A new malware sample was identified every 18 seconds. That's 200 new Android malware samples per hour.
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    Malware Relies on Display Ads
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    Malware Relies on Display Ads

    Adware often hides in fake or manipulated ads that are installed from sources other than the Place store. But at what point are apps categorized as adware?
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    Apps Become Adware
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    Apps Become Adware

    When apps hide in the background, their functions are concealed from the user or they feed legitimate apps with additional advertising networks, then they are categorized as potentially unwanted programs (PUPs).
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    Beware Alternative App Stores
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    Beware Alternative App Stores

    Although copies of paid-for original apps are available for less or even for free at alternative app stores, they may be packed with unwanted, dangerous add-ons.
 

While the global market share of Android smartphones rose 6.4% in the first quarter of 2015 compared to the previous quarter, the number of malware strains outpaced the rise in devices, increasing by 21% since the first quarter of 2014. The study, "Mobile Malware Report, Q1/2015," was conducted by GDATA Mobile Solutions, an Internet security software firm. The company's security experts identified and analyzed 440,267 new malware samples in Q1 of this year, compared to 363,153 in Q1 of 2014. "The use of smartphones and tablets for online banking is increasing rapidly. With its dominant market position, the Android operating system in particular is coming to the attention of cyber-criminals" said Christian Geschkat, GDATA product manager. "Hence it is no surprise that attackers are developing and distributing financial malware such as banking trojans especially for this platform. We are expecting a significant increase in financially motivated malware for the Android operating system this year."

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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