30 percent of smartphone users will encounter malware this year

By on August 4, 2011, 10:00 AM

Smartphone users, in particular Android OS users are becoming key targets for malware authors, according to mobile security firm Lookout. Highlights of their new report suggest that Android users are two and a half times more likely to encounter malware today than they were six months ago.

Lookout, creators of the mobile security app by the same name, have released their Mobile Threat Report based on data collected through their Mobile Threat Network. In the extensive report, the company claims that 30 percent of Android owners are likely to encounter a web-based threat on their device each year.

Furthermore, an estimated half million to one million people have already been affected by Android malware in the first half of 2011. Android app infection increased from 80 apps in January to over 400 apps in June.

Malware on smartphones is a real concern since many of us have integrated these devices into our daily life. Some threats include making charges via SMS messages, checking call history, reading incoming and outgoing messages, tracking location and more.

Malicious software creators have come up with some pretty clever tactics to mislead users into downloading infected content. One such method is called repackaging, where a malware writer takes a legitimate application, modifies the contents to include their code, then redistributes it to a download site or application marketplace. Lookout says that this was the most common means of attack in the first two quarters of 2011.

Another underhanded method is the misleading disclosure, where an app developer will intentionally “bury” information about an undesirable effect deep within an EULA (End User License Agreement). EULAs can span dozens of pages and hardly anyone actually reads them. Since the author disclosed everything about the app and the end user agreed to the terms, the app can’t technically be considered malware.

Lookout does offer up some valuable tips to help keep your device safe. They suggest only downloading apps from a trusted source, such as a reputable app store or download website. Also, it’s a good idea to set a passcode on your device in the event that it is lost or stolen. Keeping your smartphone up to date with the latest firmware release and downloading a mobile security tool can also help keep you out of harm’s way.




User Comments: 11

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Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I wonder if this is lower for Apple's iPhone? With the new one coming out soon I may consider jumping boat on Android... I've rooted my Android and had my fun with it....this is after jailbreaking the Apple iPhone 3G, which was pretty nice, and had TERRIFIC GPS location service, that still my Andoid phone cant seem to get right. This was a big feature for me as I traveled a lot for work... good thing I remember the routes my iPhone taught me before I got my new phone... or I'd have been shit out of luck with Android trying to tell me where I was. This may have been exclusively a problem with the Samsung Captivate, I'm not sure.

Tomorrow_Rains said:

trillionsin said:

I wonder if this is lower for Apple's iPhone? With the new one coming out soon I may consider jumping boat on Android... I've rooted my Android and had my fun with it....this is after jailbreaking the Apple iPhone 3G, which was pretty nice, and had TERRIFIC GPS location service, that still my Andoid phone cant seem to get right. This was a big feature for me as I traveled a lot for work... good thing I remember the routes my iPhone taught me before I got my new phone... or I'd have been shit out of luck with Android trying to tell me where I was. This may have been exclusively a problem with the Samsung Captivate, I'm not sure.

I dont blame you, i jumped boat to windows.

Something about having a tegra 2 processor, and still having slow downs due to too many open apps got to me. I like my Windows Phone, It suits the simplicity i need to function at work.

Guest said:

Why I never heard of anyone going to jail because of making a virus?, I think it is just to much.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

Guest said:

Why I never heard of anyone going to jail because of making a virus?, I think it is just to much.

dont most viruses invade people privacy?

nuff said, right?

Panda218 Panda218 said:

trillionsin said:

I wonder if this is lower for Apple's iPhone? With the new one coming out soon I may consider jumping boat on Android... I've rooted my Android and had my fun with it....this is after jailbreaking the Apple iPhone 3G, which was pretty nice, and had TERRIFIC GPS location service, that still my Andoid phone cant seem to get right. This was a big feature for me as I traveled a lot for work... good thing I remember the routes my iPhone taught me before I got my new phone... or I'd have been shit out of luck with Android trying to tell me where I was. This may have been exclusively a problem with the Samsung Captivate, I'm not sure.

I currently use an Evo for personal use and an iPhone4 for work. When I have to go somewhere I dock my Evo and let it tell me where to go, instead of watching a blue dot move down a street on my iphone... I'm guessing the GPS issues you were having were either the ROM you were running or just a shitty phone..

I'm not sold on Android, but I do prefer it over all the other devices out there. That could easily change with the new WP7.5 phones ^^

yRaz yRaz said:

are there any good security suites for mobile phones? I've heard there were some AV's but nothing about a firewall or the other stuff. The only AV's I remember were on android , anyone know if WP7 or iPhone have an AV/security suite?

RH00D RH00D said:

I've yet to own a "smartphone" and this is becoming one of the main reasons I probably won't. I suppose it's a good time to be a WP7 smartphone owner though. They may not experience malware to the degree of Android for quite some time.

Guest said:

Sweet, Linux is just like Windows now. If only Linux users would kill themselves over this.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

I wonder if this is lower for Apple's iPhone? I was. This may have been exclusively a problem with the Samsung Captivate, I'm not sure.
Yo...! You're simply not paying attention. No product or OS by Apple is susceptible to any kind of malware infection, period. Why, Steve Jobs came to me in a vision just last night, and told me that himself.

Tomorrow_Rains said:

Yo...! You're simply not paying attention. No product or OS by Apple is susceptible to any kind of malware infection, period. Why, Steve Jobs came to me in a vision just last night, and told me that himself.

Nope.jpeg

Guest said:

"Sweet, Linux is just like Windows now. If only Linux users would kill themselves over this."

methinks the poster of this doesn't understand what android is.

android is in effect a suite of applications running on top of the linux system. the above aren't holes in linux - the linux system of security is hard as nails and hasn't been compromised in any of the above. the above *are* flaws in what software can run on top of the android application stack ... this application, naturally, is allowed to make calls, SMS etc... that's the job of a smartphone... it's not a hole in the security of the android stack - it's just running an app which is authorised to do whatever it is doing.

the problem lies in *what* you choose to install, and whether those things you install are good or bad.

these security holes are no different than any O/S user downloading and installing some random application which you then authorise the installation of... e.g. you could apply the same technique to any o/s.

now, i'm not saying this is good... but the issue here is with the ability to easily fool a user into installing something malicious. the only way around this is to have a "walled garden" like iOS, whereby a user can only install from one location - and that location is vetted before an app is made available.

i say that as an android user, but i think the iOS and WinPhone approaches are far more secure.

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