Mobile malware finds a home

August 24, 2011

What do you want in a smartphone? For many people, “is a phone, does that touch thing and can play Angry Birds” pretty much covers it. If the salesperson adds “free” or “buy one, get one free” to the pitch and the customer’s walking out the door with a bag.

Thereupon, pick a blog, any blog, and you’re bound to find a story about how Android smartphones account for 52 percent of current sales. Whereas legitimate software developers still prefer iPhone and iOS, their black hatted cousins are following the user herd (eying the young, old and sick) and coding appropriately.

How do we know? Well, McAfee’s quarterly Threats Report (Digital Trends) says that malware targeting Android surged 76 percent over the last three months.

“This year we’ve seen record breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity,” says McAfee. “Overall attacks are becoming more stealth and more sophisticated, suggesting that we could see attacks that remain unnoticed for longer periods of time.”

How is the scourge manifesting itself? From calendar and comedy apps to SMS messages and fake Angry Birds updates, hackers are targeting Android users where they’re most vulnerable — above the neck.

The important thing to note here is that the great majority of Mac, Windows, Android and iOS users are vulnerable in the same way. The difference between the various platforms is the starting point approach to security, which is utterly flawed on Android and Windows.

Spreading the FUD with a canoe paddle

What of Apple and its millions of Kondescening Kool-Aid™ drinkers? It’s purely a case of “when not if” they will become McAfee customers victims, too.

Well, maybe. The antivirus companies have been saying, quite literally, for decades that the Mac would fall to malware. Yeah, that’s a possibility (i.e. like the Cubs winning the World Series), but hasn’t happened yet.

Also, whereas Android users can and do load anything they want on their devices, the mothership screens and rather tightly controls user access to apps.

Of course, Apple’s not perfect and someday someone will eventually figure out a way in. However, “someday” versus the snarling pack already circling the Android herd are two very different things…

What’s your take?

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3 Responses to “Mobile malware finds a home”

  1. ViewRoyal:

    One myth that we hear from the Android users is that Android has more malware than iOS because there are more Android devices.

    That statement is totally untrue.

    People tend to forget that iOS is not only the operating system for the iPhone, but also for the iPad, iPod Touch, and Apple TV.

    Recent stats have shown that worldwide there are more than TWICE as many iOS devices in use than there are Android devices. Yet iOS has so far been impervious to malware compared to Android.

    Kinda blows that theory out of the water. ;-)

  2. Kristof verbeeck:

    I own an android tablet, an iPhone 4/4s and an iPad 2
    I did know About android spyware and malware, but That many…. ?
    Why has’nt Google been re-writing android ?, it cant be That hard
    Just re-write it, make its source private, and let developers only use the private API’s
    Then close down the option to install non-codesigned apps

    Btw, i read a story About Google even having spyware and Malware on the parketplace
    So They dont even check those apps…. Wow
    They should partner with microsoft…. LOL

  3. Kristof verbeeck:

    I ment let developers use only public API’s
    Not private

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