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Nearly half of Android users vulnerable

September 4, 2013 • Opinion

Mobile devices and apps are undoubtedly essential to our personal and professional lives, offering us 24/7 access to essential information. It comes as no surprise then that the adoption of smartphones and tablets, which provide internet connectivity and myriad applications to help us run our daily lives, are growing at an exponential rate.

Anton Vukic, Sales Director at Phoenix Distribution (image: Phoenix)

Anton Vukic, Sales Director at Phoenix Distribution (image: Phoenix)

A recent Gartner report revealed that 1 billion smartphones will be sold in 2013, a steep increase from the 675 million units sold the previous year. The IDC says it expects tablet shipments to take over the entire PC market by 2015.

Our increasing dependence on these devices has made them an completely irresistible targets for cyber crooks. Android, due to its growing popularity is proving to be the most popular platform.

A recent study by F-Secure, showed that a whopping 79% of malware in 2012, was written for the Android platform. Further research has indicated that nearly half of Android users are vulnerable to attacks. This was revealed in a report that was a combined effort from the US Department of Homeland security and the FBI.

The report revealed that users running outdated versions of the Android OS, namely versions 2.3.3 to 2.3.7, otherwise known as Gingerbread, are in danger from Trojans, Rootkits and fake Google Play domains.

SMS/text message Trojans work by sending text messages from the infected device to premium-rate numbers that are without the user’s knowledge. The user then unwittingly racks up enormous phone bills.

Rootkits are a type of malware that stealthily modify operating system code and data to achieve malicious goals. They can record the device owner’s locations, keystrokes and passwords without them knowing.

Finally, fake Google Play domains are designed by cyber crooks to trick users into installing malicious applications onto their devices. Once installed, the crooks can exfiltrate sensitive information from the device, such as financial data and log-in details.

When it comes to cyber crime, that includes viruses, worms, identity theft and the theft of banking or credit card data, a smartphone and tablet is as vulnerable as a PC. Moreover, these devices are far easier to lose and are easy prey for thieves, resulting in an increased risk of personal data falling into the wrong hands.

Having a good Internet security product on your smartphone is absolutely essential.  The solution should provide anti-theft and anti-virus protection, with a minimal impact on the device’s performance.

Anton Vukic, Sales Director at Phoenix Distribution

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