Android Malware on Rise

Wednesday, November 27, 2013 @ 11:11 AM gHale

There were 700,000 new Android malware samples spotted in the third quarter with attacks against this platform having increased by over 30 percent, a new report said.

Part of the 30 percent increase is due to the discovery of the Android vulnerability that attackers can exploit to create malware that’s capable of bypassing digital signature validation, according to the McAfee third quarter 2013 threat report. Bad guys already started leveraging the flaw with a new family McAfee calls Exploit/MasterKey.A.

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“The efforts to bypass code validation on mobile devices, and commandeer it altogether on PCs, both represent attempts to circumvent trust mechanisms upon which our digital ecosystems rely,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs.

“The industry must work harder to ensure the integrity of this digital trust infrastructure given these technologies are becoming even more pervasive in every aspect of our daily lives.”

In order to make their malware attacks more efficient, cybercriminals are turning more and more to digitally signed malware. In fact, the number of digitally signed malware samples increased by 50 percent, to over 1.5 million new samples.

When it comes to virtual currencies, experts said illegal activities end up facilitated by the emergence of new currencies that allow cybercriminals not only to make transactions, but also to launder their proceeds.

Furthermore, as Bitcoin becomes more popular and more valuable, cybercriminals are turning more and more to the use of Bitcoin-mining malware.

The threat report also showed the global volume of spam increased by 125 percent.

The basis of the study comes from information from 500 multidisciplinary researchers spread out across 30 countries. The complete “McAfee Labs Threats Report: Third Quarter 2013” is available on the company’s website.