Malware in the Android Market is on the raise and has more than quadrupled since June of last year to January of this year according to Juniper Networks and BullGuard Mobile Security. Due to the risks of malware it is being recommended that Android users start protecting their devices as they would their computer.
Although the threat may not seem that big due to the fact the Android Market has tripled in size from around 80,000 to over 300,000 between the months of August to May 2011, but there is still the possible risks of downloading one of these malicious apps by mistake. Users can easily protect themselves and their devices by easily download a free security application like Lookout Mobile security and while not all of these mobile security applications are free they are still worth the few dollars they cost.
One of the biggest risks that has been seen in the Android Market are malicious malware that has been added to an application re-packaged and put back out on the Market without warning. The recent malware that we have seen DroidDream, HongTouTou, and Gemini were all presented that way.
According to the authors who wrote this report, “Capable of researching, uncovering, and leveraging weaknesses in both Android’s security model and the open ecosystem fostered by the Android Market, malicious individuals took advantage of a market with little oversight and a large and exponentially growing number of new users who were largely uneducated, unaware, or disinterested in mobile security, and being introduced to a plethora of applications for the very first time.”
The first peice of malware was discovered at the begining of last year. It was a bank phising application and many unexpecting users downloaded it with out being aware. Since then we have seen easily a dozen more attacks on users through these malicious applications.
The most recent attack on users and the Android Market came in the very popular application known as Walk and Text. This application allows users the ability to use their camera as a view finder so they can see what is front of them while replying to or sending a text message. The application had ended up being pirated by a developer who wanted to “ridicule” users. The developer sent many text messages regarding the application, a link where to download it and more.
Android is not the only platform to experience these malicious application, Apple’s iOS has also suffered from malware. However, their greatest risk comes from jailbroken devices and jailbreaking utilities according to the authors of the report
Lookout security CTO Kevin Mahaffey warns users:
“Mobile malware is clearly on the rise, as attackers are experimenting with new business models to make money by targeting mobile phones. Monetization is a key driver in the prevalence of mobile malware—as the business of mobile malware matures and attackers figure out how to make money, more malware will be developed.”