Android devices targeted in cybercriminal attacks

October 17, 2012

In the rapidly progressing digital age, mobile devices have become crucial for employees to conduct business outside the office. Because more workers are accessing confidential information on their smartphones and tablets, hackers are targeting mobile users to spread malware.

Malware threats
In the past few months, experts have found that most attacks are being directed at Android devices. One of the popular threats against these cell phones come from the Android.FakeInstaller malware family, which makes up more than 60 percent of cases.

The malware poses as a website that installs "real" applications - hackers even include screenshots, descriptions and user reviews of apps to trick consumers. Once downloaded, cybercriminals generate profit by committing SMS fraud, Fierce Mobile IT reported.

The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) also issued a warning for Android mobile users recently. According to Infosecurity Magazine, cybercriminals are spreading FinFisher and Loozfon malware to compromise smartphones. If a person installs FinFisher, a hacker can control and monitor his or her victim's mobile usage. Loozfon is disguised as a "work at home" job that offers compensation, which lures targets into opening an attachment. If a person clicks on the link, the malware steals contact information from the victim's address book, according to the source.

Network security measures
Consumers must take care of their devices to secure personal and company information and prevent the download of malware. Because many conduct business on their phones, experts recommend updating operating systems frequently so a hacker won't be able to find access points. People should install network security software, ignore links in emails and avoid public WiFi networks when working on company assignments. Passwords protections are also crucial to keep unwanted eyes out - Android users can set a pin, password or pattern that must be entered when they turn on their phones, according to CNet. 

-McAfee Cloud Security