Android surpasses Symbian as the biggest malware target this quarter

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Android surpasses Symbian as the biggest malware target this quarter
Android has surged tremendously in terms of pure sales over the last year, but with the growing popularity of Google’s platform, it has also surpassed Symbian as the most targeted platform by viruses, McAfee’s Threats Report for the second quarter of 2011 summarized. Malware aimed at Android devices jumped 76% in comparison to last quarter. Symbian and Java ME remain the most attacked to date, though.

"This year we've seen record-breaking numbers of malware, especially on mobile devices, where the uptick is in direct correlation to popularity," Vincent Weafer, Senior VP of McAfee Labs, said. "Overall attacks are becoming more stealth and more sophisticated, suggesting that we could see attacks that remain unnoticed for longer periods of time. High-profile hacktivist groups have also changed the landscape by drawing a line between attacks for personal gain and attacks meant to send a message."

Android surpasses Symbian as the biggest malware target this quarter
At the same time, the attacks are affecting all kinds of apps ranging from calendars, to comedy, SMS message services and even fake Angry Birds updates. Contrary to Apple’s firm grip on the App Store, Google doesn’t filter applications in such vigorous terms, but it does remove infected apps as we’ve already seen.

New malware is often more sophisticated as it often mimics PC viruses. Malware is also now often distributed hidden in a rootkit. A curious fact is that the email “black market” now offers email addresses for prices as low as $25 for 1 million emails.

source: McAfee (PDF) via Symbian Freak


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