Friday, November 2, 2012

Reasons Why Android Malware Authors Dig China and Russia

Android MalwareWe all know that cybercriminals have taken a shine to creating mobile malware, but the chances of actually encountering a malicious Android app usually depends on your geographic location.

According to Lookout Mobile’s  State of Mobile Security 2012 report, the likelihood of U.S. users encountering  mobile malware is just 1%. Meanwhile mobile users in China, Ukraine and Russia face a much higher risk of 7.6%, 28% and 42%, respectively.

But why is the risk so much higher in these countries? Three main reasons:

  1. Users are a lot less likely to pay for apps

  2. Third-party app stores reign supreme

  3. Lax premium SMS regulations

As the saying goes, nothing in life is free.

When users go looking for a pirated version of a paid app in third-party marketplace that doesn’t screen submitted apps or download it off some random website, they run a high risk of downloading a Trojanized copy of whatever app they’re looking for.

Combine that behavior with the absence of safeguards like double opt-in requirements for premium SMS services and you’ve got the perfect breeding ground for mobile malware (which often involves texting a premium-rate number).

All that aside, sticking to official stores like Google Play won’t keep you completely safe either, for malware has even managed to sneak past Google’s app-scanning Bouncer in the past. What's an Android user to do?

Just like with PCs, users will always have to play their part to keep their devices safe. That means you should always:

  • Stick to official app stores like Google Play or Amazon Appstore for Android to minimize your chances of encountering a “repackaged” app.

  • Check the number of downloads, app rating, and user reviews for any red flags.

  • Carefully review the required app permissions before downloading and installing the app. If you feel the permissions are out of line for that type of app, don’t install it.

  • Keep an eye out for multiple permission screens – it’s a good indication that you may have downloaded a malicious app.

[via Lookout Mobile]

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