Malware attacks on Android phones go up 472%

Last Updated: Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 16:29

London: Malware infections targeting Google’s Android mobile operating system have increased by 472 percent since July this year, an IT security firm has revealed.

Juniper Networks revealed that malware attack rates amongst Android users are going up at their highest rate ever, putting huge pressure on Google to improve its security.

The firm said once installed malicious programmes could either send personal information to a third party, or send text messages to a premium rate number without the person’s knowledge, costing them money that is not recoverable.

Google is particularly vulnerable because it doesn’t ‘vet’ apps in its marketplace, unlike Apple, making it open season for hackers, the Daily Mail reports.

According to Juniper Networks, Google is also vulnerable because there is no review process before an app is placed in the App Store.

Adding to the problem is that Android is open source, meaning it is far easier to create and App for free and redesign their own hardware.

October showed a 110 per cent increase in malware sample collection over the previous month and a 171 per cent increase from what had been collected up to July 2011, the report said.

The firm pointed out that not only are the numbers going up, but the malicious programmes are getting more sophisticated too.

“Of the known Android malware samples, 55 percent, acts in one way or another as spyware,” Juniper Networks said in its report.

“The other major type of attack, which make up 44 percent, are SMS Trojans, which send SMS messages to premium rate numbers owned by the attacker in the background of a legitimate application, without the person’s knowledge,” it said.

The report added that the main suspects behind such programmes are the same people who targeted other phones but have shifted because Android is now the most popular operating system.


First Published: Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 16:29
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