Tag: mobile threats

Mobile security on Android devices is facing another massive threat

Lookout has now uncovered a malware that pretends to be any of a range of very popular apps.

Lookout, a mobile security company based in San Francisco, has announced that it has discovered a new type of malware threat to devices running on the Android operating system.

This time, it is a form of malware that disguises itself as certain trusted and well-known applications.

Unfortunately, it actually opens the user up to a considerable mobile security risk as it exposes the device to root attacks. Moreover, once it has made its way into the gadget, it is nearly impossible to remove. Though this doesn’t affect people who download their applications from Google Play, it has been discovered in mobile apps that can be downloaded through third-party app stores. Among the titles the malware pretends to be includes: Facebook, Twitter, Candy Crush, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Google Now.

There were around 20,000 instances of this mobile security threat isolated by Lookout in its research.

Android Security Threat - Mobile SecurityAs the versions of these popular mobile apps that are infected by the malware have been discovered exclusively in third-party app stores, the firm has stated that people who download exclusively from Google Play can more than likely assume that they are free of this infection.

What makes this mobile malware even more challenging is that the majority of the infected applications still work in the exact same way as the legitimate versions. Therefore, it becomes exceptionally difficult – if not impossible –for a regular user to be able to detect the infected ones and therefore, to know which ones to uninstall. Moreover, when root access to a mobile device has been obtained by way of the malware, the app can automatically download and can fully intertwine itself into the operating system.

This makes it very difficult for an expert to delete it and essentially impossible for an untrained user to remove it. Once the infected app becomes activated, it pushes ads into the device of the user and poses a mobile security threat. Lookout explained that it continues to operate in the background and cannot be uninstalled by the majority of users, either forcing them to buy new devices or to have to take the gadgets to IT professionals to have the malware removed.

Android mobile security heightened with KitKat

Many are looking at the latest version of the operating system as an indicator that Google is serious about safe devices.

As the largest operating system in terms of the number of users, it means that Android mobile security can be one of the biggest challenges as it is one of the most obvious targets by cyber criminals as it provides the largest opportunity in terms of users.

The popularity of attacks and threats on this operating system has been compared to Windows for desktops.

Being the most popular means that Android mobile security needs to be exceptionally high in order to fend off threats. The latest version of the operating system, KitKat, has considerable increased its settings to keep its users safe from malware. Until now, one of the primary problems with the OS is that fragmentation in its ecosystem among the various manufacturers has complicated the standards that it is able to offer. Considering that 79 percent of threats for smartphones and tablets are aimed at Android users, this is a considerable issue.

The fragmentation means that Android mobile security could be different from one device to the next.

Mobile Security AndroidTherefore, the protection on a Samsung device may be quite different from what an LG phone user might have. Therefore, a vulnerability may be addressed on one device, but it doesn’t mean that all of the device versions will corrected. Google is not unaware of this issue and has decided that its latest release, the version 4.4 KitKat, would include a number of security features that are enterprise focused.

Although Android mobile security has been increasingly building a reputation for being less powerful than that available through the Apple iOS, Google is highly focused on changing that trend. Although the solution is far from perfect, considering the open source nature of the operating system, the additional options such as in the form of KNOX and SAFE are helping to boost the protection in the devices. At the same time that this effort has been made, Google has also been expanding the reach of the devices based on its operating system beyond traditional mobile markets and into gaming, as well.