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News

Malicious adware continues to plague Android apps

Webroot Software : 06 February, 2015  (Technical Article)
Webroot comments on the recent withdrawal of a number of Android apps from Google Play amid problems of adware infections on mobile devices
Malicious adware continues to plague Android apps

Following the news that several Android apps have been removed from the Google Play Store after millions of users were infected through adware, Cameron Palan, Senior Mobile Threat Research Analyst at Webroot provided more information:

“It comes as no surprise that Google Play has issued a warning to its users that popular apps may contain malicious adware. Since its inception the Android app store has had the reputation of being a fairly open development community, allowing developers a fair amount of flexibility. This freedom, however, has resulted in the store containing far more infected apps, whether this is through adware or any other form of Malware.

“This is in contrast to the Apple iTunes Store where developers are made to stick to strict guidelines and apps are put through a rigorous vetting process once completed. According to Webroot’s Mobile Threat Report, an analysis of 4m Android apps revealed that 15 percent were classed as malicious, and only 14 percent were classed as trustworthy.

“Android users should take care when downloading apps and try to ensure that it is from a reputable developer. On top of this, they should take a proactive approach to security and install anti-virus protection to the device. Currently this is not the case, with most people relying on the pre-installed security that comes on the device.”

In 2014, Webroot, a specialist in mobile threat protection looked at the risks and trends in the mobile market. It also includes a comparison of Android and iOS platforms.

After analysing 4 million Android apps, Webroot found that:

* 15% were malicious
* 14% were suspicious
* 13% were unwanted
* 6% were moderate
* 38% were benign
* 14% were trustworthy

This overall threat level rose 384% compared to data collected in 2012. The most infected categories were:

* Arcade and Action Games: 7,211 infections
* Communication: 4,428 infections
* Entertainment: 3,397 infections
* Health and Fitness: 2,752 infections
* Music and Audio: 669 infections
* News, Magazines, and Comics: 33 total infections
* Shopping: 24 infections
* Sports: 15 infections

In comparison, 1% of iOS apps were of moderate risk, 7% were trustworthy and 92% were benign

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