The top five Android threats

Sophos has revealed the extent of malware targeting Android mobile phones, by analysing detection statistics from its Sophos Mobile Security app.  This data was taken from installations of the application on Android smartphones and tablets in 118 different countries around the world.

SophosLabs' research revealed the top five most commonly detected malware on Android are:

1. Andr/PJApps-C - 63.4%

2. Andr/BBridge-A - 8.8%

3. Andr/Generic-S - 6.1%

4. Andr/BatteryD-A - 4.0%

5. Andr/DrSheep-A - 2.6%

Others - 15.1%

1. Andr/PJApps-C.  When Sophos Mobile Security for Android detects an app as Andr/PJApps-C it means that it has identified an app that has been cracked using a publicly available tool. Most commonly these are paid for apps that have been hacked. They are not necessarily always malicious, but are very likely to be illegal.

2. Andr/BBridge-A.  Also known as BaseBridge, this malware uses a privilege escalation exploit to elevate its privileges and install additional malicious apps onto Android devices. It uses HTTP to communicate with a central server and leaks potentially identifiable information.  These malicious apps can send and read SMS messages, potentially costing the mobile owner money. In fact, it can even scan incoming SMS messages and automatically remove warnings that you are being charged a fee for using premium rate services it has signed the user up for.

3. Andr/Generic-S.  Sophos Mobile Security generically detects a variety of families of malicious apps as Andr/Generic-S. These range from privilege escalation exploits to aggressive adware such as variants of the Android Plankton malware.

4. Andr/BatteryD-A.  This "Battery Doctor" app falsely claims to save battery life on an Android device. But it actually sends potentially identifiable information to a server using HTTP, and aggressively displays adverts.

5. Andr/DrSheep-A.  This is an Android equivalent of the desktop tool Firesheep.  It can allow malicious hackers to hijack Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin sessions in a wireless network environment.

"The volume of malware that Sophos discovered highlights that mobile security is a real and growing problem, especially on Android," says Brett Myroff, CEO of Sophos distributor NetXactics. 

"Criminals are creating more and more targeted malware for different platforms. Smartphone users need to realist that security is no longer limited to PCs; mobiles and tablets are also at risk if not sufficiently protected."

A new version of Sophos's free anti-virus for Android is available from: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.sophos.smsec

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