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News  Android
Android virus

Unofficial app stores are a hackers paradise

Kaspersky Labs are warning Android users that the growing threat from malware has reached upwards of 10 million apps. The danger this poses ranges from stealing passwords, sending spam, sending premium text messages charged to your account or even turning your handset into a zombie controller capable of launching attacks on other targets. They have also identified a new kind of target - the booming virtual currency systems appearing now such as BitCoin.

Going for the money

By far, however, the largest target was financial information. Banking apps are an obvious target, but increasingly a "pure" virus isn't the only method - social engineering malware also plays a part, for example taking over a Facebook or Twitter account. Multiple attack vectors also play a role - even basic attempts such as links sent via SMS, which then download malicious Apps when clicked. Kaspersky's report states Android is the target for 98.05% of known (mobile) malware. 

Android has the largest surface to attack

As happened with WIndows, because Android has such a huge share of the market it is the most attarctive target for virus writers.

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On January 30, 2014, the official Google Play market offered 1,103,104 applications. Alternative, unofficial stores have many more - and these are more likely to be malicious. Kaspersky Lab has now logged 10 million dubious apps, as cybercriminals use also legitimate Android software to carry their malicious code.

To avoid malicious infection, users are advised to follow expert recommendations like not to activate the “developer mode” on the device. Do not activate the “Install applications from third-party sources option.  Only install applications from official channels and when installing new apps, carefully study which rights they request.