Android-based malware achieves 35% growth in Q2: McAfee

McAfee Labs says Android-based malware achieved 35 percent growth in the second quarter of 2013.

During the second quarter, McAfee noticed SMS-stealing banking malware, fraudulent dating and entertainment apps, weaponized legitimate apps and malicious apps posing as useful tools.

McAfee Labs registered twice as many new ransomware samples in Q2 as in Q1, raising the 2013 ransomware count higher than the total found in all previous periods combined.

There was a 16 percent increase in suspicious URLs, a 50 percent increase in digitally-signed malware samples, and notable events in the cyber-attack and espionage areas, including multiple attacks on the global Bitcoin infrastructure and revelations around the Operation Troy network targeting U.S. and South Korean military assets.


McAfee Labs researchers identified four significant pieces of mobile malware that capture the traditional usernames and passwords, and then intercept SMS messages containing bank account login credentials. The malicious parties then directly access accounts and transfer funds.

In addition, McAfee Labs discovered a surge in dating and entertainment apps that dupe users into signing up for paid services that do not exist. Lonely users attempt to access potential partners’ profiles and other content only to become further frustrated when the scam is recognized.

Research revealed the increasing use of legitimate apps altered to act as spyware on users’ devices. These threats collect a large amount of personal user information (contacts, call logs, SMS messages, location) and upload the data to the attacker’s server.

Cyber criminals are also using apps posing as helpful tools, such as app installers that actually install spyware that collects and forwards valuable personal data.

“The mobile cybercrime landscape is becoming more defined as cybergangs determine which tactics are most effective and profitable,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president, McAfee Labs.

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