Malware targetting Android devices soars 76% Apple's iOS mobile platform also targetted

23 August 2011

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The amount of malware targeting Android platforms jumped 76% in the second three months of this year, making it the most attacked mobile operating system (OS).

That’s one of the key findings to emerge from the Second Quarter 2011 Threats Report from security vendor McAfee.

It reported that for the first time ever, Android OS-based malware had surpassed Symbian OS-based malware as the most popular target for mobile malware developers.

This rapid rise in Android malware, McAfee said, indicated that the platform could become an increasing target for cybercriminals. 

Consumers should expect to see this type of malicious software affecting everything from calendar and comedy apps to SMS messages and fake Angry Birds updates.

Fake Apple AV software

The first six months of this year also saw the first-ever appearance of fake anti-virus software for Macs - suggesting that Apple was also becoming more a target for malware authors. 

McAfee Labs attributed this to the fact that there were now more Mac users than ever, and organisations were increasingly adopting Macs for business use.

However, the Labs said it expected fake anti virus software, in general, to drop off over time.

Stealth malware

Stealth malware – where malware is hidden inside software that takes control of an owner's computer without his or her knowledge – was also on the rise. 

In the last six months of this year McAfee said its labs had witnessed a 38% rise in the number of these incidences over the same period last year.

It concluded that stealth malware had increased more rapidly in the last six months than in any previous period, and was up almost 38 percent over the same timeframe in 2010.

‘This year we’ve seen record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the [uptake] is in direct correlation to popularity,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.

‘Overall, attacks are becoming more stealthy and more sophisticated, suggesting we could see attacks that remain unnoticed for longer periods of time.’

For easy to understand advice, read our free guide to staying safe online.

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