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Three out of five Android app stores serve up malware

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With more than 500 Android application stores identified, three out of five served up malware.

 

Analysis by Juniper Networks of 1.85 million mobile applications between March 2012 and March 2013, found that the first two months of 2013 saw the greatest increase of malicious apps while Android malware accounted for 90 per cent of all mobile malware.

 

Speaking to SC Magazine, Michael Callahan, vice president of security product marketing at Juniper Networks, said that 73 per cent of the malware were 'fake installers', designed to send premium rate SMS messages. “They target a system and appear as a download, this tactic means that there is more opportunity to make money,” he said.

 

He said that of the three out of five malicious app stores, they were based in either China or Russia and he said that this shows that while users are keen to use other stories, they are not always genuine. “There are also hundreds of new versions replacing the ones that are taken down, they are run like a business,” he said.

 

“At some point in the future, the experience will be bad enough that we will see incremental patches foe mobile operating systems. We saw this with Microsoft and with Adobe and I think that Android will be up next. Google knows enough to change this as we saw that only four per cent of users are running the current operating system.”

 

Callahan also claimed that research by its mobile threat centre showed that mobile malware was increasing, yes PC malware had plateaued. Juniper found that the total amount of mobile malware in existence increased by 614 per cent to 276,259 total malicious apps, he said that there are only so many vulnerabilities that attackers can exploit, yet in mobile apps they were more prevalent.

 

“Now everyone has got a mobile, a laptop and possibly a tablet, and that is where the growth is and the opportunity for attack increases,” he said.

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