Report Discloses that Almost 1 in 5 Android Apps is Malware

27 May 2015

San Francisco: Recently Symantec, a security company reported that more than 17% of all the Android applications (nearly one million apps) were actually malware. In 2013, the company uncovered almost about 700,000 virus-laden applications. More than one third of the apps were ‘madware’ or ‘grayware’ which are nothing but the mobile software whose main aim is to bombard your device with ads. The company also found the first mobile crypto example called ransomeware which encrypts your data on the device and holds its hostage until you pay ransome for it.

How the malware could affect your device?

  • In the previous year, Symantec crawled more than 200 Android app stores using its Norton Mobile Insight software while downloading and analyzing more than 50000 apps and app updates each day.
     
  • Most of the malware identified by Symantec tries to steal personal information like contact lists, phone numbers and later, the data will be sold on Internet’s black market. Some malware may also make your Android device send text messages to
    premium SMS service while adding the charges to your monthly bill.
     
  • Same apps may also batter you with the ads that pop up randomly over other applications and some may also change the default ringtone to an advertisement.

How to stay safe?

  • Though there are lots of malware being spotted these days, the good news is that you can easily avoid the infection if you get your apps from a trusted source like Google Play Store. However the company did not reveal how many in those million malware apps were from Play Store; but the director admits that the number is quite low.
     
  • Certainly Play Store is trustworthy as Google does a very good job by keeping the malware out of it and even if some malicious apps make it into the Play Store, they find it out and get rid of it soon.
     
  • Also, the risk of getting infected will be very high if you visit any alternate Android app markets, download apps from the maker’s website directly or finding them on Bit Torrent sites.

Android Malware problem is greater overseas

  • The report also said that the problem of this Android malware can be seen heavily in the regions where the users cannot access Google Play and they have to rely on some third-party app markets to download applications.
     
  • If you find any unusual changes on your bill for any premium texting services or some ads popping up even if you don’t need them, these are some signs which tell you that the device has been infected. So it’s advised to have a mobile security app to keep your device safe.

Symantec also found three malware apps for iOS too. All the three apps required the iPhone to be jailbroken before it gets infected.  One of the main benefits of Android OS is that it gives you a lot of freedom to download the apps.

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