SMS Trojans Top Android Threats

Thursday, October 9, 2014 @ 03:10 PM gHale

In a move to fight cybercrime, a study conducted over one year found SMS Trojans are among the most frequent threats Android users face.

Android accounts for the largest amount of the mobile operating system market share and it comes as no surprise that most of the attacks involving smartphones end up directed at its users. Along those lines, about 98 percent of all existing mobile malware targets the users of Google’s operating system, according to the research conducted by Kaspersky and INTERPOL.

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Since August 1, 2013 until July 31, 2014, the security firm gathered data on attacks aiming at mobile devices, through installations of their protection solution.

Telemetry information extracted from the Kaspersky systems showed the most prevalent form of attack was through SMS Trojans, accounting for 57.08 percent of all detections. These attacks use the short message service to send texts surreptitiously to premium-rate numbers.

The company found bad guys relied on 452 modifications of 62 Trojans to carry out their malicious activity.

The popularity of this sort of threat is partly because of the geographical location the devices used, SMS payments are more popular than in other regions. Russia recorded most of the attacks, but countries such as Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the UK, Spain, Vietnam, Malaysia, Germany, India, France also encounter attacks involving this type of malware.

Threats created to steal online banking credentials are trending upward, according to company statistics.

“A total of 67,500 attacks involving Trojan-Banker malware against 37.7 thousand users were recorded in the analysis period,” the report from Kaspersky said.

There is a growing number of this type of threats, from 423 in August 2013 to 5,967 in July 2014.

Banking Trojans were highly dependent of SMS Trojans that distributed them, and a downfall of the latter had the same effect on the former.

At the beginning of 2014, in Russia, the country where most telemetry data came from, mobile-phone operators started to deliver users alerts whenever a text ended up sent to a premium-rate number, letting them know about the cost involved. The carrier also validated the transaction by asking supplemental confirmation from the user.

However, cybercriminals were quick at finding other ways of distribution and the upward trend started back up in June, when a new variant of Svpeng hit the street.

Additional information from their systems revealed that devices of 1,023,202 users recorded 3,408,112 malware detections over the course of the study.

The conclusion of the report is the cybercrime targeting mobile devices started to grow over the last year and affects users across the globe. Criminals do not stop at the borders of their country and can conduct attacks in any region on the map.

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