McAfee: Android was the sole target of mobile malware in Q3

By on November 21, 2011, 10:05 AM

The amount of malware targeted at Android devices continued to grow at an alarming rate last quarter, according to report by Intel-owned McAfee. The security firm says almost all new mobile malware over the third quarter was aimed squarely at Android, jumping around 37% compared to the previous quarter. This follows a 76% rise in Android malware in Q2 of 2011.

One of the most common forms of malware in Q3 included SMS-sending Trojans that collect personal information and steal money, as well as software that secretly records phone conversations and sends them to the attacker.

Malware authors are capitalizing on the popularity of Android devices, but that's not to say Android users are four or five times more likely to infect their phones than they were a few months ago. As long as users stick to the official Android market and read app permissions as well as past reviews before downloading they should be 'relatively' safe -- though Google's relaxed stance on app screening on its Marketplace has been known to let a quite few malicious apps slip under the radar.

It's also worth noting that although Google's mobile OS is getting most of the attention from malware developers these days, among all mobile platforms Symbian still makes up the biggest piece of the pie, with more than three times the total number of malware samples targeting it.

McAfee's Third-Quarter Threats Report (PDF) also contains information on other types of security attacks affecting other platforms. For instance, the security firm says that attacks such as fake antivirus, and attacks exploiting the AutoRun feature in Microsoft Windows are still going strong, while Mac malware also continues to grow following a sharp increase in Q2.

Spam levels have dropped to a record low since 2007 but targeted attacks utilizing social engineering schemes still represent a serious threat. Also, while overall botnet infections dropped slightly in Q3, they seemed to have shown a significant increase in Argentina, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela. As for the botnets that were the most damaging, Cutwail, Festi and Lethic led the pack in Q3, while Grum, Bobax and Maazben declined.

User Comments: 8

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Guest said:

Strange how intel (Windows Mobile) is bashing android...

caravel said:

Strange how intel (Windows Mobile) is bashing android...

Along with intel owned McAfee, one of the leaders in the Virus Industry, who stand to profit the most from such scaremongering.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Indeed there's more malware for Android according to reports and studies, what I would really like to know is how widespread they really are and if they have become a a real-world problem for the Android platform.

I see this every time some kind of malware is released for OS X, people start saying "I thought Macs had no viruses" but they never become widespread and are non-issues.

bexwhitt said:

McAfee seem to be one of the antivirus programs that let stuff through onto peoples PCs , they need to get their house in order before throwing stones.

Guest said:

What's surprising is that there are still people using McAfee.

Ranger1st Ranger1st said:

malware and virus's... it's the new industrial espionage... lets that the Chinese for brining it's potential to the foreground, with zero reprisals from those affected..

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:


I suspect many people who use 'smartphones' aren't smart enough (due to lack of knowledge or whatever) to know that their phone is infected, and doing something unwanted ........

isamuelson isamuelson said:

Guest said:

What's surprising is that there are still people using McAfee.

Exactly. The latest version (2012) is really bad from various tests done. It gave a computer a clean bill of health yet when Malwarebytes was ran right after the McAfee scan, more than 40 viruses were found on the computer. Plus, when it was trying to clean up some bad files downloaded from some shady sites, you had to reboot after each file was cleaned and even then, there were STILL some infected files left that it didn't clean up.

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