Sharp rise in malware targeting Android

The number of new malicious programs targeting the Android platform has almost tripled in the second quarter of the year, according to Kaspersky Lab. Over the three months in question, over 14,900 new malicious programs targeting this platform were added to Kaspersky Lab’s database.

These statistics demonstrate that virus writers are increasingly focusing on developing malicious programs for mobile devices.

Nearly half (49 per cent) of these malicious files targeting Android devices were multi-functional Trojans that steal data from telephones (contact names, email addresses, telephone numbers, etc.), and are also capable of downloading additional modules from servers run by malicious users.

A quarter of the detected Android malware was made up of SMS Trojans. These malicious programs steal money from victims’ accounts by sending SMS messages to premium-rate numbers without the owner’s knowledge or consent.

A couple of years ago, these programs could be only found in the countries of the former USSR, South-East Asia, and China. Today, they are spreading around the world: in Q2 2012, Kaspersky Lab protected users in 47 countries against SMS threats.

18 per cent of Android threats detected in the second quarter this year are backdoors that give malicious users the ability to gain full control over an infected device. These programs are used to build botnets of mobile devices. For now, only a small number of all Android threats are Trojan Spy programs – just 2 per cent of the total.

However, these are the malicious programs that pose the greatest threat to users. These programs are on the hunt for the most valuable data that give malicious users access to bank accounts.

“In the near future, we expect not only more malware, but more effective and dangerous malware targeting Android. Judging from existing trends, we should expect that cybercriminals will soon shift to more personalised attacks. This is primarily about malware hunting for confidential data with which to steal money from users’ credit cards”, said Yuri Namestnikov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Mobile threats of this kind can be handled with the help of dedicated mobile applications. Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security, in addition to reliable protection against information theft via malware, also ensure data stays safe even if the device is lost or stolen.

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