More than 2 million Malware Files predicted to surface this year, says report

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Smartphones are vulnerable to malware and other related viruses. G Data Security Labs released a report that provided that information stored on an Android smartphone or tablet is vulnerable to almost 4,900 new malware files each day. Cybercriminals’ interest in the Android operating system has grown, the firm’s Q1 2015 Mobile Malware Report revealed.

“The report suggests that Android devices are becoming a bigger target for the bad guys and more profitable than in previous years,” said Andy Hayter, security evangelist for G Data.

Many new Malware strains are predicted to surface this year. The estimated number predicted by the G Data Security Lab is more than two million. The 2 million figure is very realistic, due to the increasing use of Android devices for banking and shopping online, G Data suggested.

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“The report shows that the OS has a bigger market share than the others, and thus is more interesting to security researchers and malware authors alike. Also, a lot of vendors offer Android devices varying in quality standards, but that is not a problem of the OS itself, but rather of the vendor in question,” Hayter told LinuxInsider. Google introduced premium SMS Checks last year. After that, the malware models started to spread out, he noted.

“Before that time there were a few very active malware families, such as SMS FakeInstaller,” Hayter said. “Since then there are lots of small families.”

The report further provided that the new malware files are believed to be financially motivated. 41 percent of consumers in Europe and 50 percent in the U.S. use a smartphone or tablet for their banking transactions. Plus, 78 percent of Internet users make purchases online. At least half of all Android malware now in circulation includes banking Trojans, SMS Trojans and similar malware components. Reports Technewsworld.

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“The actual percentage of malware-infected Android apps easily could be higher. They only studied malware with a direct financial purpose — many other types of cases might exist. For example, a malware program might install apps or steal credit card data as an additional process after a payment is made. Because that type of malware would not seem to be financially motivated.” G Data Security Lab said.

The report further provided that free Android apps offer particularly attractive attack vectors to cybercriminals. Many apps, especially free apps, rely on advertising to fund their development. Bad apps can hide themselves in the background or conceal functions from users. Bad apps also can send legitimate apps’ data to additional advertising networks. Apps that do such things — like programs running on PC OSes — are called “Potentially Unwanted Programs,” or PUPs. The report categorizes such apps as adware, noting that they often hide in manipulated or fake apps that are installed from sources other than the Google Play Store

Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group said.”Android is a derivative of Linux, an operating system generally considered less likely to be targeted by viruses and malware. However, Android is less rigorous and less secure than other mobile platforms.”

“There is much more sideloading, which means there is a far easier path to getting viruses on Android devices than any other mobile platform,” he told LinuxInsider.

Perhaps the one most effective strategy to minimize the risk of infection is to avoid discount app stores.”Do not download apps from unknown app stores, except if you really trust the specific vendor,” Hayter said.

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“The report demonstrates that Android devices are becoming a bigger and profitable target for malware attacks. The increase in Android malware will continue to see an increase as the number of devices increase, including IoT devices that are Android-based,” said Hayter.

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