A Mad Explosion of Android Malware

By Tony Rizzo February 27, 2013

Commtouch, an Internet security technology and cloud-based services vendor, has just released a new security report that pointedly notes that Q4 2012 brought with it an "exponential" rise in Android malware and Web threats specifically targeting mobile users. Needless to say, but we'll note it anyway, the significant rise in Android malware comes at a time of explosive Android growth at the lower end of the smartphone market, where users are likely to be both less sophisticated and less worried about mobile device security - it's not a happy thought.

The report - Commtouch's February 2013 Internet Threats Trend Report - highlights that Android malware levels increased more than five times between September and December 2012. Commtouch researchers also discovered a non-trivial increase in email-based malware during the same Q4 2012 period.

How bad is it and how does Commtouch come to these conclusions? It turns out the assertions are based on some hard facts - by the end of the quarter Commtouch's lab had collected more than 214,000 samples of Android malware. This compares to the previous quarter's approximately 41,000 and to approximately 14,000 samples the quarter before that. This does indeed mark a precipitous rise in malware incidents.

India remained the number one hotspot for spam-sending zombies during the period in question. India accounted for 17.5 percent of such incidents, but in reality India actually shaved 1.5 percentage points over the previous quarter's 20 percent. An improvement, yes, but still far ahead of its nearest rival for the dubious title, that being China, which weighed in at a modest 9.5 percent. Vietnam was next on the list with eight percent - so together they equal India's 17.5 percent. Asia remains the dominant global region in Commtouch's list. The United States landed in eighth place with a 2.7 percent share.

Average daily spam level was 90 billion messages per day in Q4 2012, representing only a slight increase over the previous quarter. Spam averaged between 71 and 80 percent of all emails sent globally during Q4 2012.The lowest level was 52 billion recorded on the last day of 2012 (spam levels typically drop during the Christmas to New Year period). The highest daily hit was an unusual spike of 134 billion in early December.

Spam isn't as great an issue as the huge growth in Android malware incidents. Avi Turiel, director of Threat Research and Market Analysis at Commtouch notes that, "Android is by far the most popular mobile operating system in the world today, with a market share of more than 75 percent in the third quarter. Its popularity makes it a natural target for cyber criminals of all kinds."

The issue certainly underscores why many enterprises are still reluctant to deal with Android devices as a part of large scale BYOD deployments. It is also why Samsung continues to look for its own independent ways of better securing Android for the enterprise.

Turiel adds, "The alarming growth rate also demonstrates that the Android platform is still regarded as an easy target. Effective protective measures are urgently needed."

The entire Commtouch February 2013 Internet Threats Trend Report is available for viewing.




Edited by Jamie Epstein

TechZone360 Senior Editor

SHARE THIS ARTICLE
Related Articles

The Sharing Economy Means Big Cash Ahead

By: Steve Anderson    5/27/2016

It might seem like a misnomer, as the "sharing economy" has previously been thought to mean "getting stuff for free". A new report from Juniper Resear…

Read More

The NFL and Twitter Just Put Fans in Charge of the Future of Sports Viewing

By: Special Guest    5/26/2016

Ask ten people you know what the last thing they viewed live was and eight of them will tell you, a sporting event. The others may cite the occasional…

Read More

10 Tech Tools to Get You Through 2016

By: Drew Hendricks    5/24/2016

A great example of how simple tech innovations can make even the smallest things in our lives a little easier, the Oombrella, developed by Wezzoo, is …

Read More

The Bigger Picture Behind Facebook's Bias Accusations

By: Special Guest    5/23/2016

Facebook recently followed up with a stern position that there was no biased manipulation of presented topics in its 'Trending Topics' section.

Read More

Tamiami Angel Fund II Adds 10th Company to Investment Roster

By: Steve Anderson    5/19/2016

The Tamiami Angel Fund II (T2) has been busy in recent months, adding a slate of new investment targets to its roster. T2 recently added one new opera…

Read More