McAfee Labs

Variety of Android Threats Extends Around the World

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By on Aug 16, 2013

As the most popular mobile platform, Android has grown exponentially in recent years, increasing the market for new developers to show their skills with novel applications. However, not all developers have the best intentions in mind; some take advantage of the popularity of Android to develop malicious applications. In this blog we will show the most important threats of the year and which countries are the most vulnerable targets.

The top ten detections for each month this year include scams that pose as legitimate applications, steal information from infected devices, send SMS messages to premium phone numbers, try to gain root privilege on infected devices, or display malicious adware.

In January this year, users in more than 100 countries were affected by one or more of these threats. The number of countries has been increasing ever since then, with the discovery of new and more complex malware such as Obad. Although the number of infections per country might change from one month to the next, the most affected countries usually remain the same, as you can see from the following pie charts.

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We see a similar story for Android malware. One of the leading families, despite being one of the oldest, is FakeInstaller. It is one of the most prevalent families in Russia and other former Soviet republics. The GinMaster family, which appears in Trojanized applications and steals sensitive information, prevails in China.

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FakeInstaller prevalence in most-affected countries.

Other threats include adware modules such as FakeRun or AdwoLeaker, which have a large presence in the United States, India, and Japan.

Another common Android threat is malware that sends SMS messages to premium-rate phone numbers. These often do not pretend to be popular games or app installers like FakeInstaller; they can be wallpaper apps or battery saver apps that bleed money from victims. This type of threat is present throughout the world, especially in the United States, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Singapore, as well as in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Taiwan.

Don’t assume you are safe if your country has not been mentioned in this blog. We have found at least one threat in every country. Do not download applications from unknown sources and make sure you have installed a reliable mobile security solution to protect your devices from these threats.

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