A new report from Lookout Mobile Security warns that Android malware is increasing as Android devices become more popular. Android smartphone users are now 2.5 times as likely to be the victim of a malicious software attack compared to six months ago.
Android presents more security issues than are found in other smartphones because it’s an open platform and this makes it especially vulnerable to malware. The open platform is good because it means vendors can provide less expensive smartphones and without a 2 year contract, but, especially because the device is becoming more popular and more widely used with people of all sorts of non-tech background, presents bigger security issues which consumers are now becoming more aware of.
Last week for example, security researcher Denish Venkatesan revealed a malware program that records and stores phone calls made from an Android smartphone.
The bad news continues for Android users in the Lookout Mobile Security report: 30 percent of those who use the popular smartphone made by search engine giant Google will see threats from other sources such as Web based phishing scams, browser exploits, and drive by downloads. Comscore reports that Android devices are becoming more popular, and Android phones now account for 40 percent of the U.S. smartphone market.
Users should be aware that the mobile security risks are real, know what the risks are, and use general mobile safety practices. Android smartphones are more frequently the subject of attack and cybercriminals are being smarter in how they make their attack. For example, Lookout reports that hackers are using a new attack method employing malvertizing – a term coined to describe the practice of serving up ads through legitimate apps. But the ads when clicked take the user to a fake Android market and the user, when purchasing and downloading one of the apps, will in fact be downloading malware like GGTracker, or an upgrade app which is safe to download and use but when upgrading become malware.
Malware programs can hurt a user in various ways including signing up a user for premium SMS services or incurring huge phone charges by using a “carrier billing” payment option which Google is beginning to use for purchases of applications on the Android Market. Wireless providers are also pushing this method more frequently.