Mobile Malware Threats Heat Up
Though mobile malware is still in its infancy, the number and the severity of the threats have been growing exponentially over the past few years.
Cyber crooks are infecting popular mobile platforms through malicious applications and no platform is immune. Just this week we have seen two very noteworthy events in the mobile malware realm. Both infections were likely via install of a malicious app.
The first was temporarily available in the Apple App store and was the first of its sort that was not proof of concept. This app would reportedly access the contacts list and begin sending SMS spam to everyone in the list. Apple quickly pulled the app from its store. In addition the is same malicious app was also available on the Google Play market.
The second event could be the first ever Andriod device based botnet. A security researcher at Microsoft Forefront Online Security is reporting to have identified an Android based botnet that is sending spam from mobile devices. The messages appear to be coming from Yahoo accounts (created va the Android API) being accessed on Android devices. All of the messages contain the following message-ID:
This infection would likely be caused by malicious app installation as well. Google is denying that this is in fact the case. They argue that what is being reported as the first Android based botnet, is just clever ruse by spammers. “Our analysis suggests that spammers are using infected computers and a fake mobile signature to try to bypass anti-spam mechanisms in the email platform they're using," a Google spokesman said. Although the Jury is still out on this one, it could be a first ever incident.
One thing is certain, this is only the beginning. The fact that we are beginning to see the majority of mobile users move to one of two platforms (IOS and Android) provides a more broad and tempting target for hackers.
At this time the greatest threat is the install of malicious applications so be very selective in which apps you are installing on your device.