Android is under attack: New malware threats tripled in Q2

Android Malware Q2 2012

According to security research firm Kaspersky Labs, the volume of new malware targeting Android devices nearly tripled in the second quarter of 2012. Over the three-month period, the company found more than 14,900 new malicious programs targeting the platform. Nearly half of the malicious files were classified as multi-functional Trojans that were programmed to steal data from smartphones and could also download and install programs from remote servers. A quarter of the malware was made up of SMS Trojans, which are capable of sending text message to premium-rate numbers without the owner’s consent, and 18% were considered backdoor threats that can give hackers full control over an infected device.

“In the near future, we expect not only more malware, but more effective and dangerous malware targeting Android,” said Yuri Namestnikov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab. “Judging from existing trends, we should expect that cybercriminals will soon shift to more personalised attacks. This is primarily about malware hunting for confidential data with which to steal money from users’ credit cards.”

Kaspersky Labs’s press release follows below.

Android Under Attack: Malware Levels for Google’s OS Rise Threefold in Q2 2012

Below is a summary of the level of malicious programs targeting the Android platform during spring and early summer 2012. The number of new malicious programs targeting the Android platform has almost trebled in the second quarter of the year, according to figures from Kaspersky Lab’s Q2 report on IT threat evolution. Over the three months in question, over 14,900 new malicious programs targeting this platform were added to Kaspersky Lab’s database.

These statistics demonstrate that virus writers are increasingly focusing on developing malicious programs for mobile devices.

Classification of Android Trojans

Nearly half (49 per cent) of these malicious files targeting Android devices were multi-functional Trojans that steal data from telephones (contact names, email addresses, telephone numbers, etc.), and are also capable of downloading additional modules from servers run by malicious users.

A quarter of the detected Android malware was made up of SMS Trojans. These malicious programs steal money from victims’ accounts by sending SMS messages to premium-rate numbers without the owner’s knowledge or consent. A couple of years ago, these programs could be only found in the countries of the former USSR, South-East Asia, and China. Today, they are spreading around the world: in Q2 2012, Kaspersky Lab protected users in 47 countries against SMS threats.

18 per cent of Android threats detected in the second quarter this year are backdoors that give malicious users the ability to gain full control over an infected device. These programs are used to build botnets of mobile devices. For now, only a small number of all Android threats are Trojan Spy programs – just 2 per cent of the total. However, these are the malicious programs that pose the greatest threat to users. These programs are on the hunt for the most valuable data that give malicious users access to bank accounts.

“In the near future, we expect not only more malware, but more effective and dangerous malware targeting Android. Judging from existing trends, we should expect that cybercriminals will soon shift to more personalised attacks. This is primarily about malware hunting for confidential data with which to steal money from users’ credit cards”, said Yuri Namestnikov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Mobile threats of this kind can be handled with the help of dedicated mobile applications. Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security, in addition to reliable protection against information theft via malware, also ensure data stays safe even if the device is lost or stolen.

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