The Internet was never a safe place. But McAfee’s latest report is still very worrying – especially if you are an Android user. The report paints a disturbing picture of how the second Quarter of 2012, saw a massive increase in malware when compared over the last four years.
The report also highlights, the devices that are under the biggest threat: Android smartphones. You can view the entire report here.
According to the report, McAfee Labs detected a 1.5 million increase in malware since Q1 2012 and identified new threats such as mobile “drive-by downloads”, the use of Twitter for control of mobile botnets, and the appearance of mobile “ransomware”.
So how bad are things for Android? According to the charts, it doesn’t look good at all as Android leads the list of malware infected content. The report also points out that malware has always been a problem for Android smartphones, but the last quarter has seen a massive spike. The big question: Why has Google not done anything to stem the tide?
And how does an Android device get compromised? Thanks to a nifty new malware tool called ‘Drive-by downloads”. According to Wikipedia, a drive-by download can happen in two ways. The first kind of drive-by downloads happen when a person downloads something but without understanding the consequences (e.g. downloads which install an unknown or counterfeit executable program, ActiveX component, or Java applet).
The second kind of drive-by download occurs without a person’s knowledge, often a computer virus, spyware, malware, or crimeware.
In this case, the McAfee report says that A victim still needs to install the downloaded malware, but when an attacker names the file Android System Update 4.0.apk, most suspicions vanish. So be careful, that ICS update you think you are downloading may actually be malware!
Incidentally, Twitter could also be a factor that undermines your Android’s security. The report says a new botnet client, Android/Twikabot uses Twitter to gain control of your device. Instead of connecting to a web server, the malware searches for commands from specific attacker-controlled Twitter accounts. The attacker can tweet commands and all infected devices will follow them.
And then finally there’s malware that will target all your photos on your smartphone. The report mentions an Android Trojan horse program, Android/Moghava that was notice in early 2012. The malware corrupts all photos on an SD card. This quarter it appears malware authors have created a new variant, Android/Stamper which uses a different picture and targets fans of a popular Japanese singing group.
All in all, not great news for Android! Over to you, Google.