The popularity of the Android platform has made it a favorite target among malware makers. It’s a huge favorite that the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report says that 99 percent of all mobile malware in 2013 targetted Android devices. This is an increase from the 71 percent reported in 2012.
The report also points out that Android has the highest encounter rate (71 percent) among all forms of web delivered malware. This is significantly higher than the 14 percent rate encountered by iPhone users.
The bulk of the malware threat on Android devices comes from a malware called Andr.SMSSend. It is a Trojan that accounts for 98 percent of all Android malware while the remaining 2 percent is made up of other forms of malware.
An Android device will have a greater risk of getting the Andr.SMSSend malware if apps installed in it are taken from outside the Google Play Store. This kind of malware interrupts the normal operation of a device and gains access to private information.
Some of things that this malware can do are as follows
- Steal contacts and pictures
- Tracks your location
- Logs keystrokes and passwords
- Sends SMS to premium numbers which results in a higher bill
- Fakes legitimate banking apps
- Steals banking information
This report seems to be alarming but if we look closely at the problem there’s really nothing to be worried about. The bulk of the problem seems to point only to Andr.SMSSend which originates from Russia and enters a device through sideloaded apps. If consumers just get their apps from official sources such as the Google Play Store then there’s a very little chance that malware will enter a device.
Most Android users tend to download apps from third-party sites since they can often get paid apps for free. It’s really tempting to get an app for free but then you must also consider that it is being offered for free to lure Android users.
Some other proven methods to protect your device from malware are as follows
- Always read the permissions of every app before installing
- Avoid installing android apps from third-party websites or unreliable sources
- Always protect your device with a password
- Do not view or share personal information over a public wi-fi network
- Choose an antivirus app for your phone
- Use a backup or security application for the data stored in your Android device