Cisco: Android the target of 99 percent of world’s mobile malware

“Google’s Android mobile operating system (OS) is the target of 99 percent of the world’s mobile malware, according to Cisco,” Alastair Stevenson reports for V3. “Cisco revealed the trend in its 2014 Annual Security Report, which also showed that the Andr/Qdplugin-A malware was the most common Android variant, being used in 43.8 percent of all known attacks.”

“Cisco reported that the Android malwares are mainly spread as Trojanised applications designed to look like real, legitimate apps on third-party marketplaces,” Stevenson reports. “Android’s [so-called] open nature lets developers alter the OS and create marketplaces and applications without Google’s knowledge or consent.”

“Cisco’s findings mark an increase in Android attack levels reported by most other vendors and agencies,” Stevenson reports. “The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) listed 79 percent of all mobile threats as being designed to target Android in August 2013.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google’s Android. “Open” for malware.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “David G.” for the heads up.]

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  1. Why am I not surprised. It’s is like the love-child of Microsoft’s Windows OS, with the US Government Complex NSA program, which, kind of went downhill when ol’ Bushie here started the Patriot Act back in Aught Three.

    1. OBlama is on the tube as I write blathering away about cyber defense strategies. NOWHERE in the mainstream media is there ever ANY mention of the pitfalls of Android. What a WASTE of resources.

  2. One of the reasons, a pretty big one actually, of switching from Windows to Mac OS X was viruses. I got sick and tired of updating antivirus definitions every week, Windows Defender updates every week, Windows security updates every week. It soon became a ritual that before I could do any work on my Windows machine I had to spend an hour waiting for the virus definitions to download, then reboot, waiting for Windows update to download and install, then reboot, and then upon checking the updates profile again find that there are one or two critical updates that were missed despite checking ‘all’ on the checkmark and then downloading that, installing and rebooting. Not to mention the various updates for the hardware components – video drivers, sound card drivers, etc. I got thoroughly sick of it.

    On the Mac, it’s so easy, one click and you’re done. If you value your sanity, Mac was the only way to keep yourself sane.

    Don’t underestimate the pernicious effect of viruses and the attempts to ward off viruses. It’s a real pain in the posterior. Any time you have to deal with viruses you’re halving your productivity because at the back of your mind you’re afraid to do things on your computer, be it a mobile phone or PC, because you’re too conscious of doing the wrong thing and attracting viruses. I think that’s why usage patterns of Android users are so much lower than iOS users – the threat of viruses is inhabiting the habits of people.

    1. Installed Windows 7 on a Bootcamp portion on a Mac to run Windows Media Center and a Silicon Dust HD Prime as a DVR this week. The DVD was ordered just before MS pulled them from the shelves to push Windows 8, so we are talking about a fairly new copy.

      135 security and stability updates later it was up to date.
      135 updates.

      1. … Then every (every!) second Tuesday of the month there are a slew of further Windows updates to download and install.

        I hate second Tuesdays of the month. To make them even more ominous, Adobe has adopted the same update schedule for their freeware crap. Double whammy.

    2. Your very point is job security for the corporate IT Schlock. How much $$$$$$ did you compensate yourself for the endless hours fixing your virus ridden OS? Why pay ANY IT Schlock? The solution is simple. Scrap the PC JUNK ALONG WITH IT’s Crap OS & buy a Mac? That sounds complicated to an IT Duffus.

    3. Thanks BLN for a good post.

      However, as an action hero 😉 dedicated to busting bad terminology and informing the masses about security, I will point out the correct outline of terms for malware. I wish I could provide links to all the definitions, but WordPress gets ticked off at more than two links. All the provided definitions are from The Free Dictionary.

      I. Malware:
      ‘Malicious computer software that interferes with normal computer functions or sends personal data about the user to unauthorized parties over the Internet.’

      A. Virus:
      ‘A computer program that is designed to replicate itself by copying itself into the other programs stored in a computer. It may be benign or have a negative effect, such as causing a program to operate incorrectly or corrupting a computer’s memory.’

      B. Trojan horse:
      Computer Science ‘A program that appears to be legitimate but is designed to have destructive effects, as to data residing in the computer onto which the program was loaded.’

      C. Worm:
      ‘A standalone malware computer program that replicates itself in order to spread to other computers. Often, it uses a computer network to spread itself, relying on security failures on the target computer to access it. Unlike a computer virus, it does not need to attach itself to an existing program. Worms almost always cause at least some harm to the network, even if only by consuming bandwidth, whereas viruses almost always corrupt or modify files on a targeted computer.’

      D. Rootkit
      ‘A rootkit is a stealthy type of software, often malicious, designed to hide the existence of certain processes or programs from normal methods of detection and enable continued privileged access to a computer.’

      E. Key logger (aka ‘spyware’):
      ‘Keystroke logging, often referred to as keylogging, is the action of recording (or logging) the keys struck on a keyboard, typically in a covert manner so that the person using the keyboard is unaware that their actions are being monitored. It also has very legitimate uses in studies of human-computer interaction. There are numerous key logging methods, ranging from hardware and software-based approaches to acoustic analysis.’

      F. Adware:
      ‘Any software package which automatically renders advertisements in order to generate revenue for its author. The advertisements may be in the user interface of the software or on a screen presented to the user during the installation process. The functions may be designed to analyze which Internet sites the user visits and to present advertising pertinent to the types of goods or services featured there. The term is sometimes used to refer to software that displays unwanted advertisements.’

      G. Ransomware (aka ‘scareware’):
      ‘Ransomware …comprises a class of malware which restricts access to the computer system that it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator of the malware in order for the restriction to be removed. Some forms of ransomware encrypt files on the system’s hard drive, while some may simply lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Modern ransom ware attacks were initially popular within Russia, but in recent years there have been an increasing number of ransomware attacks targeted towards other countries, such as Australia, Germany, and the United States among others.’

      H. Botware:
      ‘Botnets sometimes compromise computers whose security defenses have been breached and control conceded to a third party. Each such compromised device, known as a “bot”, is created when a computer is penetrated by software from a malware (malicious software) distribution. The controller of a botnet is able to direct the activities of these compromised computers through communication channels formed by standards-based network protocols such as IRC (Internet Relay Chat) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).’

      AND: Increasingly there is malicious software that combines any of the above methods into hybrid malware.

  3. Ouch! Another black eye for Android.

    And a troubling setback for Android evangelists, those intrepid champions of openness, who have forever denounced the oppressive policies of the Apple politburo.

    The “walled garden” of a curated App Store no longer appears quite as oppressive and exclusionary, arrogantly forced upon a world yearning for freedom.

    Instead, it’s shaped up as a pretty good thing, safety-wise.

  4. So basically if you avoid 3rd party app stores run out of China your chances of infection are greatly lowered.

    Android has plenty of challenges but I have never had malware on one of my android devices. Its certainly not like windows in that regard.

    I only install apps from the google play store and of course I had to root my device and run a custom ROM since I doubt Verizon has plans to push newer android builds to my DNA. Im still not on KitKat! Jellybean is it for now.

    To me the biggest advantage Apple has is iOS being fairly consistent across devices and the fact that they update their devices which gives you a far longer return on your investment.

  5. The most common Android malware takes photos of the owners face and then uploads it to a local sex offender tracking site together with name, birthdate, address and gps coordinates. It then emails links to the website to everyone at your workplace.

  6. For those looking for an excuse to hate Apple fanatics: I write about Apple security. Click on my avatar for the link. Apple security is NOT perfect. In fact, there’s no such thing as perfect security. So don’t get all uppity as if we Apple fanatics are a bunch of dreamers with our heads in the sand.

    That being said: There has NEVER been a worse influx of malware on planet Earth than the EXPLOSION of malware for Android. The acceleration of Android malware is BEYOND exponential. Malware alone is a prime reason to run-the-hell-away from all things Android. Stick your own head in the sand all you like. The numbers are scary-as-hell and EVERY Android user is vulnerable. That includes those who don’t suffer from fragmentation and are able to keep Android up-to-date.

    Malware makes Android THE most dangerous OS available, bar none.

    1. Notice the operative word word in this article was “target” not “victim”. Google has given Android enough security to rival iOS. The article also explains how this malicious apps are found in UNOFFICIAL app stores. Calling Android insecure because of this is not at fair. To Install APKs from unknown sources a user must actively change the phone’s default settings and ignore multiple warnings from Google. Android is open which means You can do virtually anything you want with your phone whether it’s helpful or harmful, Google trusts that you would go for the former.

      1. Rubbish.

        Google doesn’t even scan the apps in their store for malware UNTIL they receive reports from VICTIMS about there being a problem.

        Q: Why is there such a MASSIVE proliferation of Android malware?

        A: Because it’s successful, obviously.

  7. I have used a Mac almost every day since 1992. I’ve been on the Internet since 1994. I have NEVER run antivirus software and only once in all this time did I have a problem with a virus and it was so mild I resolved the issue in 10 minutes (knocking on wood).

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