McAfee Threat Report Highlights Rapid Rise of Android Malware

Paul Lilly

Be careful what you download

For malware writers, everything's a numbers a game. So, the more popular a platform becomes, the more attention cybercriminals will pay to finding vulnerabilities they can exploit. It's really no wonder, then, that McAfee's Threat Report for the second quarter of 2013 noted a rebound in mobile threats, including a 35 percent growth rate in Android-based malware, the likes of which have not been seen since early 2012, the security firm reports.

"Backdoor Trojans and banking malware were the most popular mobile threats this quarter," McAfee stated in its report (PDF) . "We counted more than 17,000 new Android samples during this period. The year is certain to establish another record. New malware of all types exceeded 18 million this quarter, pushing our all-time tally to more than 147 million binaries."

Cybercriminals are keeping themselves busy on multiple fronts. According to McAfee, AutoRun threats, which are often spread via USB drives, are still at record levels, and the same is true of password-stealing programs. Signed malware, which masquerade as legitimate software, jumped 50 percent this quarter and continues to set records.

Ransomware is also on the rise. McAfee added 320,000 more ransomware samples to its database in Q2, which is twice as many as the previous period.

"Not only do criminals make relatively safe money from this scheme, they often do not remove their malware -- leaving the poor victim's system as dead as before," McAfee says.

Our advice to mobile users is the same as it's always been, Pay particular attention to downloads, and to play it safe, only download apps from trusted sources like Google Play and Amazon's App Store. Even then, double check the app you're downloading to make sure it's not a malware infested spoof.

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