Malware targeting Android devices on the rise

June 4, 2013

According to the latest Internet security threat report, malware on mobile devices has risen over 50% since compared to last year. Close to 900 million users use Android gadgets. Statistics on the dramatic rise of Android malware is sending shockwaves to users. Security companies have been reporting an explosion in Android malware, with latest prediction claiming Android malware cases could hit 1 million by the end of this calendar. I share Google’s engineer Chris DiBona opinion that causing alarm has been the motivation behind anti-virus companies, who pinpoint the problem then market their products to address it. In fact, Google has tackled the malware menace well since it launched Bouncer scanner to detect malware in apps on Google Play. Last week while reviewing my Galaxy S4, I was impressed with the latest Android software version, Jelly Bean that scans for malware in apps installed from outside Google Play. Android users wanting to protect themselves need to look at the permissions apps require before installation. Me think it makes sense that apps require a wide range of permissions, such as checking users contacts or photos access.

These latest statistics are not a surprise to those of us privy to the problem given the nature of Google Play where majority of consumers prefer downloading free apps, some of which are malware infected. On my part, I think Android apps are going through a process where cybercriminals take advantage of vulnerability and users’ lack of understanding of what the app they are installing is accessing. Looking at my Galaxy S4 recently, I found a situation where Android handles security in uncharacteristic manner as it all depends with the user. For example, when I install an app, the operating system asks me for access to my contacts, Internet, photos to mention but a few. Many users install app without understanding they’ve actually given the app access. I was doing some background check where I realized there are many different app stores for Android. In my opinion, multiple Android app stores have become a cybercriminals hub and they are taking advantage by downloading popular apps, then cracking them open and insert malware and then repost them on other app stores as the free version. I advise that before downloading app, ensure you establish your smartphone’s system resources to be utilized and how much app will affect battery life. Avoid secondary Android app stores and solely download from Google Play.

Contador Harrison