Report: Android More Susceptible to Malware Attacks

By Kenna McHugh Comment

Now available for the first time in the United States, the “Smartphone Malware Report” from Panda Security aims to raise awareness of the threats affecting mobile devices as well as tips individuals can follow to avoid falling victim to mobile threats.

Panda Security is a provider of cloud-based security solutions, with products available in more than 23 languages with millions of users located in 195 countries around the World.

“One of the major challenges security vendors face is user mobility,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Enhancing the security of cell phones — through anti-malware, data protection, and management and security audit functions— is a major challenge for any security department, and we must tackle this threat as soon as possible in order to help protect users’ information and businesses. Even though cell phone malware is not a priority for cyber-crooks yet, we are starting to see the first major attacks on these platforms. We predict that the next few months will see significant growth in cell phone attacks, especially on Google’s Android operating system.”

Some platform services have a history of targeted threats and attacks, including Cabir, WinCE.Brador.A , Skulls, Pbstealer, CxOver, Ikee.A and Ikee.B and Droid09. With that in mind, the predictions for the future could include schemes that target mobile banking applications and capturing sensitive information in general. It would include track users’ locations through GPS, advanced social engineering attacks, and mobile worms that scan all devices connected to Wi-Fi networks, exploiting vulnerabilities to transmit malicious code to other systems.

The lack of security awareness among cell phone users and carelessness are two of the most important risk factors for smartphones. It is extremely important to understand that a smartphone is far more than just a phone and should be treated more like a computer due to the valuable information it stores.

“Security vendors have long warned about the fact that cell phones would overtake PCs as the primary cyber attack target, and 2010 has showed the first signs of that. We believe 2011 will really mark a turning point in this field,” explained David Barroso, director of e-crime at Council member S21sec.

1. In order to protect your mobile device you should include these practices:
2. Enable access protection measures such as a PIN or password
3. Configure the smartphone to automatically lock after a minute or so being idle
4. Disable features not in use such Bluetooth, infrared or WiFi
5. Before installing or using new smartphone apps or services, check their reputation and only install applications from trusted sources
6. Keep your operating system and software applications up to date
7. Be wary of any files, links or numbers received from unsolicited email or SMS messages
8. Avoid using questionable Wi-Fi networks

This may seem a bit much. If mobile malware is on the increase, you are best to be aware and take the suggested per cautions. Hind-sight is not very effective when it comes to keeping your personal information secure.