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Why is Android an easy target for malware infections?

Posted: 16 Feb 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Android? cybercrime? cyber-attack? hacker?

Due to the large market share it holds within communication networks, Alcatel-Lucent says that it's in a unique position to measure the impact of mobile and home device traffic moving over those networks to identify malicious and cyber-security threats. Motive Security Labs is an analytics arm of Motive Customer Experience Management.

According to Alcatel-Lucent, Motive Security Labs (formerly Kindsight Security Labs), processes more than 120,000 new malware samples per day and maintains a library of 30 million active samples.

Below, we will share the highlights of data collected by Motive Security Labs.

Workhorse of Cybercrime

Mobile infection rate since December 2012

Alcatel-Lucent's Motive Security Labs found 0.68 per cent of mobile devices are infected with malware.

Using the ITU's figure of 2.3 billion mobile broadband subscriptions, Motive Security Labs estimated that 16 million mobile devices had some sort of malware infection in December 2014.

The report called this global estimate "likely to be on the conservative side." Motive Security Labs' sensors do not have complete coverage in areas such as China and Russia, where mobile infection rates are known to be higher.

Workhorse of Cybercrime

Mobile malware samples since June 2012

Motive Security Labs used the increase in the number of samples in its malware database to show Android malware growth.

The chart below shows numbers since June 2012. The number of samples grew by 161 per cent in 2014.

In addition to the increase in raw numbers, the sophistication of Android malware also got better, according to Motive Security Labs. Researchers in 2014 started to see malware applications that had originally been developed for the Windows/PC platform migrate to the mobile space, bringing with them more sophisticated command and control and rootkit technologies.

Workhorse of Cybercrime

Infected device types in 2013 and 2014

The chart shows the breakdown of infected device types that have been observed in 2013 and 2014. Shown in red is Android and shown in blue is Windows.

Workhorse of Cybercrime

While the involvement of such a high proportion of Windows/PC devices may be a surprise to some, these Windows/PCs are connected to the mobile network via dongles and mobile Wi-Fi devices or simply tethered through smartphones.

They're responsible for about 50 per cent of the malware infections observed.

The report said, "This is because these devices are still the favourite of hardcore professional cybercriminals who have a huge investment in the Windows malware ecosystem. As the mobile network becomes the access network of choice for many Windows PCs, the malware moves with them."

Android phones and tablets are responsible for about 50 per cent of the malware infections observed.

Currently most mobile malware is distributed as "Trojanised" apps. Android offers the easiest target for this because of its open app environment, noted the report.

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times


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