21 February, 2013
At the start of 2013, McAfee Labs researchers had counted 36,699 mobile malware samples — and an astounding 95% of those samples only appeared over the course of the previous 12 months. In comparison, McAfee threat researchers gathered just 792 samples of mobile malware in all of 2011. Will 2013 display a similarly amazing climb?
All signs point to yes. The growth of mobile malware shows no sign of slowing and this threat will likely continue to explode as mobile devices remain particularly attractive to cybercriminals and malware authors for the following reasons:
Android Malware: Backdoors, Exploits & Spyware
The Android platform continues to make up the bulk of malware targets, representing 97% of total mobile malware. McAfee Labs researchers are tracking a range of mobile malware targeting these devices, including backdoors that enable attackers to gain control of a smartphone, new mobile exploits, and spyware.
Attackers love it when users install malicious apps that let the bad guys gain complete control of victims’ phones, so it’s no wonder that mobile backdoors remain popular with attackers. Here is how a few of these apps operate:
Recent models of Samsung phones were vulnerable to a configuration error that allowed the legitimate rooting of phones. This was good for skilled users who wanted to modify the operating system, customize the interface, or add security improvements, but it also opened up the device to vulnerabilities, giving attackers complete access to an unsuspecting user’s phone. The underlying vulnerability gives one complete access to all of the memory in the system. It allows someone skilled or with an exploit to patch the OS and remove all security restrictions.
Spyware makes up a tiny portion of new Android threats, but among the more notable malicious threats are Android/Ozotshielder.A and Android/PBL.A.