Maliciously Modified Apps Becoming Popular Vector for Infecting Devices
Santa Clara, Calif. – November 14, 2011 – In response to the increasing interest in mobile applications, McAfee is sharing its top five tips to avoid downloading bad apps. While reported mobile malware incidents are still relatively low in number, McAfee Labs is seeing significant growth in the mobile malware threat landscape. Due to the fact that smartphones and tablets have eclipsed unit sales of desktop and laptop PCs, cybercriminals have set their sights on mobile and maliciously modified apps are becoming a more popular vector for infecting devices. Fortunately, there are some common sense practices that anyone can take to help protect their smartphones and tablets from the growing threat of malware and the persistent threat of unsecured devices.
Here are five easy steps device users can take to secure their own devices.
According to the Gartner report, “Forecast: Mobile Application Stores, Worldwide, 2008-2015,” May 18, 2011 (G00212661), 17.7 billion mobile apps are estimated to be downloaded in 2011 (a 115% increase from 2010). By 2012, mobile apps are projected to generate more than $15 billion in app store revenues from end-users alone.
“As the application market continues to boom, users should be more cautious that they know what they’re installing,” said Lawrence Pingree, Gartner analyst. “For example, they should only install applications from trusted sources and ensure that permissions match up with the respective application’s core features. Anti-malware protection will also go a long way in helping to ensure the user’s mobile device has the latest protection.”
“Maliciously modified apps have started to become more prevalent,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president, McAfee Labs. “Based on McAfee detections, we’ve seen approximately 200 malicious apps versus tens of thousands of good apps. However, with mobile devices becoming a targeted platform for malware, it’s becoming more common for cybercriminals to attempt to corrupt a legitimate app. The best advice for users is to be careful, protect the mobile device and the mobile apps that reside on the device.”
McAfee Mobile Security combines powerful anti-malware, anti-theft and web safety features and is available for Android smartphones and tablets as well as BlackBerry and Symbian smartphones. McAfee has also recently released McAfee® App Alert™ software, an app that secures and preserves the user’s privacy by providing intelligence about the apps on their Android device. The software individually analyzes and grades each app, to show the device owner how they access, store and transmit their personal data. McAfee App Alert (beta) is currently available at no cost on the Android Market.
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