Android is constantly under threat of some security breach or the other. There are dozens of news stories floating about of how Androids are being subjected to malicious apps which steal data and/or unleash bugs and viruses onto the device. Of course there are a number of reasons for that too. The OS of Android is an open system, which means that third party apps can easily be installed and used. Forget jailbreaking the device, it’s already open to user customization, which though sounds refreshing also gives leeway for hackers and malware professionals to test out their skills. And so, Android spyware and cell phone spy remains a real issue for Android users. But if we are to look at current trends, we realize that the issues are only going to get worse if not quadruple.
The Not So Balanced Equation
Moreover, the balance between the malware threats and the security features coming out to ward them off is fragile at best. Sometimes we have amazing security features coming out like ESET’s latest brainchild and other times we have baffling malware attacks that no one really knows how to approach. Which is what the latest Android scare really is, no one knows the direction it will take. For those of you not sure what I’m talking about, recently Android malware which makes use of drive by downloads has made it’s grand entrance. Now drive by downloads are a feature used by PC hackers and not mobile malware developers. Until recently that is. So the threat is morphing right before our eyes. Malware professionals are getting bolder and exploring new frontiers, blurring the PC-Smartphone security line. We can only hope Android is gearing up to contend with such blatant boldness too, especially since it holds 51% of the market share.
Now thanks to this new malware dubbed ‘NotCompatible’ by the security firm ‘Lookout’, we can actually identify where mobile malware is headed. Initially the malware (which is actually a Trojan) was found to be present on sites which were known for hosting Android malware. The malware disguised itself as an update and was found as a hidden iFrame at the bottom of infected websites. But recently there have been reports that the malware is present on a number of other sites which have been found to be infected. So hackers have made their way from specially designed drive by download sites to hacking legitimate ones and using them for their own purpose. Now this only makes our jobs so much more painfully hard. These could be any sites and who knows how many times we visit them. What’s worse is that Android may have the steps necessary to fight android spyware but can neither make head nor tails of a successful drive-by download attack if the situation comes up. Which in all honestly, looks like it will anytime soon.
What It Implies
At the moment, the NotCompatible threat is very low. The malware is in its earliest stages and can’t do much damage without the user becoming aware of its presence. It may get downloaded onto your Android without you knowing but installation is required for it to further get into your data. So that’s where it hits its first fort wall. But how long before it overcomes that particular hindrance? Especially since it is clear that malware professionals are now targeting popular sites to do damage at a mass scale. There seems to be no way of knowing how to stop the hack nor how many have already been affected. The fact is malware is evolving into a weapon of mass Android genocide at this rate and just might be successful if Android doesn’t keep up.
Jane Andrew is the author of android spyware and cell phone spy technology. She provides tips, tricks about cell phone security and privacy. You can also follow her on Twitter @janeandrew01 to get the latest tips about computer security.