Android based malware grows in record numbers in second quarter

Infotech Lead India: The popularity of the open-source Android continues to take a toll on its health, if the latest McAfee threat report is to be believed.

McAfee Threats  Report: Second Quarter 2013 report says Android-based malware achieved a 35 percent growth rate not seen since early 2012.  The rebound was marked by the continued proliferation of 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.

The second quarter also saw 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 a set of common mobile strategies employed by cybercriminals to extract money and confidential information from victims.

McAfee has identified four significant pieces of mobile malware that counters two-factor authentication implemented by banks. They capture traditional usernames and passwords, and then intercept SMS messages containing bank account login credentials. The malicious parties then directly access accounts and transfer funds.

Another new method of attack includes Fraudulent Dating Apps. McAfee Labs discovered a surge in dating and entertainment apps that dupe users into signing up for paid services that do not exist.

Trojanized apps are gaining strength as the research revealed 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.

Beyond mobile threats, the second quarter revealed the continued adaptability of attackers in adjusting tactics to opportunities, challenges to infrastructure upon which commerce relies, and a creative combination of disruption, distraction and destruction to veil advanced targeted attacks.

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