Mobile malware exploding… for Android

Daniel Eran Dilger:

Malware targeting mobile devices is rapidly growing in both the number of variants found in the wild and in their complexity and sophistication, but the only platform being actively targeted is Google’s Android, which researchers now say is resembling Windows on the desktop PC.


  • Still only a serious problem for those who side load, which is off by default.

    • Yes, but isn’t the real problem:
 “The majority of Android phones are never updated, so even if Google or its partners were made aware of an exploit and chose to address it with a patch, most Android users would never get the updates, leaving lots of fertile ground for scammers to harvest”

      Which results in: “As Sean Sullivan, Security Advisor at F-Secure Labs stated in the report, “I’ll put it this way: Until now, I haven’t worried about my mother with her Android because she’s not into apps. Now I have reason to worry because with cases like Stels, Android malware is also being distributed via spam, and my mother checks her email from her phone.”

      Which can be done on the iPhone but only if Apple stops patching the Jailbreak holes and many people decide not to update the iOS.

      I don’t think there is any doubt that as a result of all the Android fragmentation that there is a vast number of insecure Android devices out there. Side loading is hardly the only problem.

      • I 100% agree the real problem is old devices with outdated OS versions. The state of Android updates is in an abysmal state. I was pretty disappointed to not hear an update on this today (@ Google IO) but I know the real Android OS event is this fall so I’ll wait to judge.

        With that said, the old devices are not more susceptible to side loaded malware apps but are to security problems. That’s a big difference.

        Either way…this is a problem.

    • Jon

      But I thought Android was so wonderful because it was “open” and you could sideload apps. Hmmmm……

      • It is. Just like on OSX or Windows…you have to be mindful of what you install. This isn’t anything new but the point is you can’t install one of these on a default install.

  • Simon Pride

    Clearly this is more terrible news for Apple.

    • Doctorossi

      Tomorrow’s WSJ headline:

      “Apple’s Monumental Mal-ware Problem: iOS Failing To Attract Independent Developers”

  • Oh it’s an AppleInsider article. Perfect.

  • This problem can definitely be mitigated by retiring old devices with their outdated OS versions as quickly as possible. To be honest, I think the Android ecosystem has grown very self aware in this regard. From Google to Airpush, everyone who matters in Android (app stores to ad networks) want to see malware die a fast and certain death. I don’t think they’ll be able to “kill” it, but they can certainly do a better job of screening/filtering and keeping it from infecting devices in the first place…