Android Malware Jumps 400 Percent
|Image composite by SecurityNewsDaily|
Android users have a serious security problem on their hands, and it's bound to get worse unless they, and all smartphone users, wise up.
Owing to the growing success of the Google smartphone software, the IT company Juniper Networks found that malware specifically targeting the Android operating system has increased 400 percent since last summer.
And that's just the start
In its Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011 issued yesterday (May 10), Juniper discovered that, in addition to the monumental proliferation of Android malware, all mobile devices have become "increasingly susceptible to Wi-Fi attacks ."
The report found that the "vast majority" of smartphone users don't have any antivirus software installed on their phones. This oversight leaves them open to all kinds of attacks, from email phishing scams that have traditionally targeted computer users to Trojans sent via SMS message. (Seventeen percent of all reported smartphone infections were caused by these dangerous texts.)
"These findings reflect a perfect storm of users who are either uneducated on or disinterested in security," Dan Hoffman, chief mobile security officer at Juniper, said.
The app problem
Juniper's report showed that the top way you put yourself in danger of damaging your phone is by downloading dangerous apps.
Rather than ensuring that the apps they download are legitimate, Juniper said consumer behavior shows that people don't check where they get their apps from, which puts power into the hands of rogue app developers looking to spread corrupted software.
This issue came to a dangerous head in early March, when it was found that more than 50 Android apps had been rigged with DroidDream , a bank-stealing Trojan that could remotely download code to phones from remote servers.
Our phones are smarter, but are we?
The underlying message is that as smartphone technology, connectivity and power increases, so too must our awareness of the risks involved with having the Internet in the palm of our hands, wherever we go.
As we blur the lines between computer and phones, it's necessary that users protect their portable devices the same way they would their laptops.
Juniper recommends installing antivirus and antispam software, as well as firewalls, on all mobile devices, and using strong passwords to ensure your mobile wireless connection does not get hijacked.