Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Android malware using real apps as disguise 'wrappers'

From Angry Birds to angry users

Article comments

Mobile malware stepped up an order of magnitude in volume and sophistication during 2011 and this trend has continued in the first quarter of 2012, according to F-Secure’s latest quarterly report.

The threat posed by such malware in the real world has always been hard to assess but the numbers in the company's Mobile Threat Report show a clear pattern, especially for the number one malware target, Android, which dominates the statistics.

The security companies haven’t been exaggerating – while the success of new malware remains to be gauged something is definitely going on.

In the first quarter of 2011 10 new families and variants of Android malware were discovered. A year later this has nearly quadrupled to 37 families while in the same period the number of malicious APK files (malware types used in specific attacks) has risen from 137 to 3,063.

To put the Android numbers into a wider context, in the same period Symbian recorded 12 malware families; there were no recorded examples of new malware on other platforms during the quarter.

“This growth in number [for Android] can be attributed to malware authors crafting their infected or trojanised applications to defeat anti-virus signature detection, distributing their malware in different application names, and trojanising widely popular applications,” said F-Secure’s researchers.

The ominous trend is that quarter-on-quarter malware is not only getting more common but more sophisticated.

An important technique is the use app ‘wrappers’ to allay the suspicion of users that rogue software might have been installed. These work by bundling legitimate apps with malware in order to gain permissions without the user understanding what it is being granted for.

F-Secure offers the recent example of malware using Angry Birds and Instagram Android apps as covers for premium rate SMS text apps. This trick looks likely to grow in popularity.

"The most interesting malware trends over recent months has been the increase in trojans that deliver on their promises. This makes it harder for victims to know they have been victimised as there is less for them to detect," said F-Secure security advisor, Sean Sullivan.



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *