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Android threats shifting to banking and ransomware

24 Jul 2013
Google Android Malware

Android malware is becoming more sophisticated, with ransomware and attacks that harvest bank details on the increase, according to Bitdefender.

A report from the security software firm highlighted that SMS-based malware – which send texts to premium-rate numbers – is still by far the most common form of Android malware, but more advanced viruses are also on the rise.

The firm highlighted an attack that targets text messages related to banking, known as ZitMo. "ZitMo receives commands from a Command and Control server and can forward all incoming SMS messages to it. This is of particular interest to attackers as they can receive the banking mTAN (mobile Transaction Authentication Number) as soon as users initiate the transaction."

Almost half of ZitMo reports currently come from China, but European countries such as Germany and Romania are also reporting outbreaks.

Ransomware, already a common sight for unwitting PC users, is also on the rise. The malware demands payment in order for users to regain control of their devices and is distributed as antivirus software.

Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender's chief security strategist, said that ransomware is following the same pattern as it did when it first emerged on PCs. "The increased level of sophistication and its similarity with PC ransomware might suggest that Android malware coders are branching out," he said.

"Emulating the behaviour of PC malware on Android is no novelty, as we saw in the past how adware gained traction and evolved on the mobile OS."

Last week, an Android vulnerability that allowed malicious code to be hidden inside legitimate app installer packages was discovered by security firm Sohpos, which labelled it as an "elementary mistake".

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Michael Passingham
About

Michael Passingham joined V3 as a reporter in June 2013. Prior to working at V3, Michael spent time at computing magazine PC Pro. Michael covers IT skills, social media, tech startups and also produces V3's video content.

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