Feeds

Mobile app malware menace grows

Android users at front line of attack

Website security in corporate America

The number of apps on mobile marketplaces contaminated with malware grew from 80 to 400 during the first half of 2011, according to a study by Lookout Mobile Security.

Android users are particularly at risk of downloading contaminated apps from markets and download sites. Two of the most commonplace threats, DroidDream and GGTracker, were regularly hidden into repackaged gaming apps or utilities and uploaded to Android app marketplaces.

Because of this surge in malicious apps, users are 2.5 times more likely to encounter malware today than at the start of the year, according to Lookout.

Based on data culled from its mobile threat network, Lookout reckons between a half million and a million users were exposed mobile malware in the first six months of 2011.

Threats include malware strains that send text messages from compromised phones. These types of attacks mainly affected Android users in China, Russia and Eastern Europe but arrived in the US last month with a threat called GGTracker.

Web-based threats mean that security risks exist for mobile users outside the Symbian and Android families, the two mobile platforms most commonly targeted by virus writers. Lookout reckons VXers are increasingly looking to redirect surfers to malicious sites contaminated with malware that triggers a download as an alternative to tricking them into opening malicious (Trojanised) applications directly. Update attacks, where an attacker first publishes a legitimate application with no malware – it is only updated with malware components once it has a large user base – have also begun to appear.

"As mobile devices grow in popularity, so do the incentives for attackers," says Kevin Mahaffey, CTO and co-founder of Lookout Mobile Security. "We've seen the prevalence and the level of sophistication of mobile malware attacks evolve significantly in the first six months of 2011. We expect this trend to continue as more and more people adopt mobile devices."

A closer look at the malware security landscape, together with safety tips for users, can be found in Lookout's report here. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Blood-crazed Microsoft axes Trustworthy Computing Group
Security be not a dirty word, me Satya. But crevice, bigod...
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.