Monday, August 19, 2013

Threats against Android growing rapidly

Computer virus trojan malware
The Google Android operating system which is primarily targeted towards mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, has a global market share of approximately 80%. This high market share has also made it more and more attractive platform for malicious users.

A recent analysis published by Kaspersky Labs shows that the amount of threats and the level of sophistication of such threats is growing extremely rapidly, in fact the growth rate is even higher than what has been ever measured for Microsoft Windows operating systems. What is more alarming is that the level of sophistication of the malicious software is also increasing. 

The most potent and dangerous threats currently is called Obad which has been given the code name Backdoor.AndroidOS.Obad.a. This trojan has the ability to create backdoors, download files, upload data stored on the phone, send text messages to arbitrary paid services and also to infect other Android systems through bluetooth.

In many aspects, the threats against Android more and more resemble the threats against Windows system with them opening up multiple attack vectors and also having multiple functions to collect, upload and download data. To many, this is not very surprising as the number of Android devices sold annually is greater than the number of Windows computer sold which makes Android a highly attractive target for hackers.

Fortunately for most users, getting infected is still of relatively low risk. Most malicious software spreads on alternative app sources, and actually very few spread through Google Play due to the automatic screening process of Google Play. In addition, the user still has to authorize the apps to gain access to various functions in the phone before the app itself can become potent. However, the rate of increase of the amount of malicious apps and their sophistication level is certainly alarming and needs to be carefully monitored. 

Perhaps in the not too distant future, Android users who value security will need to have an antivirus software installed on their phones similar as how Windows users have been forced to have for decades now.

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