Malware is software that is designed to disable or harm a computer system. It comes in the form of computer viruses, spyware, adware, ransomware, Trojan horses, and many others. It often leads to a substantial windfall for cyber criminals.
Androids have been vulnerable to malware attacks over the years. That’s because Google’s Android applications market provides an open platform to all of its apps. Malware infects one of their apps and gets into your phone when you download the malicious app. The code contained in the malware springs up popup ads that lead to phony web pages and illegitimate downloads.
A few months back, security company Check Point traced an infectious malware known as HummingBad to a Chinese group known as YingMob. Check Point reported that the malware gets into Android devices, installs fraudulent apps on up to 50,000 Androids each day and earns illegitimate ad revenue.
Yingmob had control of 10 million Android devices around the world and was able to generate $300,000 each month in fraudulent ad revenue, according to Check Point. Check Point estimates that HummingBad may have infected 85 million of the world’s Android devices.
According to The Inquisitr, researchers say China has seen 1.6 million Androids affected by HummingBad. Figures say that malware against Androids increased by 391 percent over 2014, and malware against mobile devices account for 97 percent of mobile malware crime.
And security firm Trend Micro reported that things got even worse in 2015. According to Androidheadlines.com, twice as many cases of Android malware were reported during 2015. The company’s statistics say that 10.6 million Android malware attacks were seen in the fourth quarter of 2015, compared to 4.26 million in the last quarter of 2014.
Researchers have reportedly detected malware in 50 percent of Kit Kat operating Androids, and 40 percent of those running Jelly Bean. Companies like Avast, Lookout, and ZoneAlarm have security applications capable of detecting HummingBad before it becomes malicious.
But some sources say that Android antivirus apps are relatively ineffective. According to How to Geek, Android devices don’t get security updates, and Android restricts the permissions apps can use. Nexus devices are recommended for your Android devices to receive your security updates directly from Google. There just isn’t any low-level way for any antivirus app to connect to your system.
Also, Androids may fall victim to another problem. The devices could face “Android Installer Hacking.” According to makeuseof.com, when you download an application, the installer may be hijacked, and the app could be replaced with a fraudulent one. Fifty percent of Androids face the risk of such a hijacking.
Check Point says it’s not hard to remove the Hummingbad malware, but if it has already infected your computer, it may be wise to use a factory reset. We suggest that you always completely research an app before installing it.
The company believes that hacker groups like Yingmob now have the knowledge and skill set to take malware campaigns to new levels. And they’re far from the only cyber criminals out there.
The question is; Are Google and every other manufacturer ready for them?