New Android Malware Takes Mobile Malware to the Next Level

At the end of 2012 there was disturbing news about a new form of android malware.  While it is particularly troubling for the android marketplace, it should also be considered a sign that mobile malware is a bigger Internet security threat than ever.  Malware has long been a prolific Internet security threat, but until recently most of it targeted PCs and laptops.  The recent shift in emphasis by cyber criminals to target mobile devices must be taken seriously and addressed as an ongoing Internet security risk.

avoid malware in android Purpose

The purpose of the new android malware was to take over the user’s device.  It was most well-known for giving hackers the ability to use the victim’s device to launch DDoS attacks as well as send SMS messages.  In the past, Internet security experts assumed mobile devices were not a likely target for malware used to set up DDoS attacks because mobile devices don’t offer hackers enough bandwidth to bring down a network.  Unfortunately, hackers have shifted their emphasis from taking down entire networks to focusing solely on the application layer and Web servers.

One of the easiest ways for companies to protect their network from DDoS attacks and similar internet security attacks was by rerouting DDoS traffic away from the network.  A majority of DDoS attacks utilized devices from across the globe.  This allowed companies to reroute any incoming traffic originating from locations outside of their primary customer base.  By leveraging mobile devices, attackers can now use a more diverse traffic profile.

What Happens?

When someone falls victim to this particular Internet security threat, the malware will connect to a remote server controlled by the hacker.  The server will then transmit the user’s phone number and other personal information.  Not only can the mobile device now be used to launch DDoS attacks, but hackers also gather valuable personal information about their victims.

The Internet Security Result

There are three potential results from this form of malware.  The first is noticeably reduced device performance.  If the device is being used for a DDoS attack, a majority of the devices resources are being used which impacts device performance.  Another outcome of this Internet security threat is victims being surprised by premium SMS charges.  The malware will secretly sign users up for premium SMS services, which allows hackers to generate a direct profit from their malware.  The final result is unknowingly entrapping friends.  With all of the information the cybercriminal gains from the user’s device, targeted phishing attacks can be developed to entrap friends of the victim as well.

How to Stay Safe

There are three basic things anyone can do to minimize the risk of falling victim to this Internet security threat.

1. Know What Apps Are Being Downloaded

The easiest way to stay safe from malicious apps and similar internet security threats is by always paying attention to what apps are being downloaded.  Try to only download apps from well-known marketplaces because they take more time scanning apps before making them available to the public.

2.  Know What Programs Are Being Launched

Along the same lines, it is important to always know what programs are being launched within the mobile device.  Most Internet security threats tied to mobile malware launch additional programs to achieve their goal.  If the user pays attention to what programs are running on their mobile device, they will quickly be able to spot if there is a problem.

3.  Always Err on the Side of Caution

When in doubt, always err on the site caution.  No app is worth the risk if the user does not connect through a VPN connection for USA.

About Russel Zaman

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