As Android smartphones grow ubiquitously, the number of threats and malwares on these mobile devices are also increasing. According to a recent report by Symantec, the malware problems on Android smartphones and tablets are going to get stronger.
The report points out a few key areas where users are likely to face attacks on their mobile devices and lists out major threats that users of Android devices face. Some of the new threats are:
Two factor authentication is no longer as safe as you thought: According to the report, attackers have caught on to outsmarting the two-step authentication process. Usually the two-step authentication involves that users log into their account (email or Facebook or Twitter) via the password and then enter a separate confirmation code which is messaged to them on their phone by the concerned company.
However, Symantec’s report points out that hackers have developed Android codes to steal the codes. Some malware on the list are Android.Hesperbot and Android.Perkel which intercept SMS messages with the code and send them directly to attackers. This malware can also steal other banking credentials.
Android bootkits are here: Bootkits are used in advanced threats to typically target Windows computers but these are now making an appearance on Android phones as well. These threats operate deep within the Operating System, usually infecting the computer’s startup code, such as the Master Boot Record, allowing the malware to execute before the operating system starts up. These forms of threats let an attacker maintain presence on the compromised computer.
One the first bootkits for Android called “Android.Oldboot.1” was discovered by Russian security firm Doctor Web, over 350,000 mobiles across the world. The problem with a bootkit is that it attacks startup codes and is very difficult to erase.
According to Symantec, one of the recent bootkit threats to Android is Android.Gooboot. It’s a particularly difficult threat to remove, but the attacker needs physical access to the device in order to infect it in the first place. Symantec warns that more bootkits on Android are likely to be seen in the future and that users should be wary of buying rooted Android devices.
New way to enter mobiles: A common way for Android malware to sneak into the phone was via the market place. But thanks to growing awareness of users and Google taking strict action that isn’t always possible now. However attackers have started to use desktop computers as to get onto Android handsets.
The only way to avoid this is to not connect your mobile to unknown computers say in cyber-cafes or those in a public library, even the ones in your office. Stick to plugging your device to your own trusted computers and make sure the anti-virus is updated on your computer.
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