Android spyware “on rise” as snooper apps multiply

Spyware is a growing threat on Android phones, according to research by Kindsight Labs, a division of Alcatel-Lucent.

A third of the top 15 Android threats detected by Kindsight Labs were spyware, the company said in its Q2 report. Kindsight provides security solutions to ISPs and mobile networks, and analyzes network traffic to detect malware trends.

“Malware and cybersecurity threats continue to be a growing problem for mobile devices, particularly for Android smartphones and tablets which are increasingly targeted,” said Kevin McNamee, security architect and director of Alcatel-Lucent’s Kindsight Security Labs.

“Mobile spyware in the ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) context poses a threat to enterprises because it can be installed surreptitiously on an employee’s phone and used for industrial or corporate espionage.”

Overall infection rates remain low, though, with 0.52% of mobile devices infected, according to Kindsight Security Labs Malware Quarterly Report.

“Another indication of Android malware growth is the increase in the number of samples in our malware database,” the report said. “In Q2 alone there has been a six fold increase in the number of Android malware samples. Trojanized apps from Google Play and third party app stores are the major infection vector.”

ESET’s detections of Android malware have also increased this year. ESET Security Evangelist Stephen Cobb says in a blog post, “The number of variants for four different families of Android malware jumped dramatically. This is a strong indicator of increased activity by those who distribute malware. These ESET numbers are global and appear in the ESET report: Trends for 2013: Astounding growth of mobile malware (PDF).”

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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