Google Android's biggest malware targets: Gingerbread and ICS

Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) turned out to be the biggest targets of malware targeting the Android operating system in the third quarter of 2012, a security vendor said.

Kaspersky Labs said its analysis for the quarter showed the most popular targets of the Android-targeting malware were 2.3.6 (Gingerbread) and 4.0.4 (Ice Cream Sandwich).

“Although Gingerbread was released back in September 2011, due to the segmentation of the Android device market it still remains one of the most popular versions, which, in turn, attracts increased interest from cybercriminals,” said Yuri Namestnikov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

On the other hand, Namestnikov pointed out ICS, the most recent version so far, is "suitable for online activities."

"Unfortunately, users actively surfing the web often end up on malicious sites,” Namestnikov added.

Kaspersky said Gingerbread accounted for 28 percent of all blocked attempts to install malware, while Ice Cream Sandwich accounted for 22 percent of attempts.

SMS trojans, Opera Mini disguise

Kaspersky also reported more than half of malware detected on user smartphones turned out to be SMS Trojans, which steal money from victims’ mobile accounts by sending SMS messages to premium rate numbers.

The OpFake family has become the most widespread (38.3% of all the malicious programs detected for Android) among all the mobile malware families.

"All the programs in this family disguise themselves as Opera Mini," it said.

It added a fifth of the malicious programs detected on user devices are versatile Trojans, most of which belong to the Plangton family.

Once installed, these Trojans collect service data on the infected phone and send it to the command server and wait for the cybercriminals’ commands.

"Specifically, malicious programs in this family can stealthily change bookmarks and the home page," it said.

Third place in the ranking was taken by the FakeInst family, whose members pretend to be installers for popular programs (17 percent).

These two types of malware are mostly distributed via so-called alternative app stores created by cybercriminals.

Mobile threats of this kind can be neutralized with the help of dedicated mobile applications, Kaspersky said. — TJD, GMA News

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