Latest posts by Alvin Bryan (see all)
- Millionaire Tyupkin Malware ATM Hackers May Come to US, India After Hitting Europe - October 23, 2014
- BitLicense Will Allow Bitcoin Spying in New York - October 22, 2014
- Australians are Fighting Data Retention Laws - October 22, 2014
The Android OS has become the new target of hackers due to its vulnerability to security attacks. Like Windows for desktop, Android is quickly becoming the platform of choice for mobile users. Hackers naturally follow, and malware production targeting Android devices has become a big problem. The Android OS does have some integral defects, but it may not be completely at fault.
It took two decades for Microsoft to overcome the technical hitches in their OS. Hopefully it doesn’t take this long for the Android platform. Due to its popularity, Android is now the most profitable cybercrime target. And hackers are discovering that it is a juicy target indeed with its malware-prone architectural faults. Not only is the number of malware infections growing astronomically, but so is the sophistication of the malicious applications.
Android OS Vulnerabilities are to Blame
A live demo conducted by the IT security company ESET demonstrated the Android OS vulnerability. ESET showed at the RSA conference how easily an infected app could allow a hacker complete control over the phone. One presentation showed how to root the phone and move its contents to a server in a matter of seconds.
According to one of ESET’s top researchers, Stephen Cobb, much Android malware is used to defraud mobile carriers. Popular malware today targets bank accounts, but Android malware has a less obvious target. It uses infected phones to manipulate premium-rate SMS services. To Cobb, this is a sign that they are experimenting and putting the pieces in place in preparation for larger-scale attacks.
Much like hackers use the personal desktops of unsuspecting users to form their bot nets, hackers may be developing a similar system for a mobile network. In this day and age of SMS verification and phone authentication, it is the logical criminal move. Android OS security then becomes a big deal, and security issues may see a large number of users moving to a more secure platform. Cobb predicted that this will be the motivator for Android to take serious steps to improve OS security.
But are Android Apps the Real Culprit?
Andrew Hoog, ViaForensics’ CEO, however, doesn’t think that the Android vulnerabilities are in fact to do with the operating system. He leans more towards weaknesses in Android apps that put holes in Android security. Hogg says that mobile operating systems need security features like digital rights management and malware detection to be tested and implemented by security professionals. The problem is that vendors do not allow companies even low-level access to their systems. If the security industry is locked out of OS design, security holes are a likely outcome.
It seems that security companies will continue to be denied access during the developmental stages of an operating system. This means that they will be continually unable to build the tools needed to properly manage mobile device security. Security companies are now limited to developing specific solutions only after attempting a jailbreak on a particular device.
The involvement of third party mobile security companies in the development of mobile OS is a key security issue. Their products may not ensure that a device becomes 100% hacker-proof, but play a significant role in risk reduction. The lack of data in the current OS development atmosphere puts security companies in a difficult position. The task of formulating security solutions for mobile devices is that much harder because they simply do not have much data to work with.
Meantime, VPN providers are experiencing a marked increase in sales of their mobile VPN apps. People have become dependent on their mobile phones for many daily tasks. The answer is to get the best protection available. Mobile users are becoming more aware of the security that VPNs can provide for their mobile devices. Data encryption, private traffic tunnels and VPN server anonymity shield them from hackers and malware.
Consumers are not jumping ship, it seems. Their love for other Android features apparently overshadows the security problems. Android users continue to multiply as they seek alternative ways to secure their devices. Perhaps loyal consumers will give Android the time they gave Windows to overcome all the security glitches. All in all, the choice to use a VPN for Android devices is a good move.
A few additional facts to consider:
A smartphone is lost or stolen every 3.5 seconds. They are rarely recovered without the right security app for tracking.
95% of mobile malware targets Android devices.
Advanced malware such as the Geinimi Trojan has the ability to completely take over your phone, costing time and money.