Exploit attacks have steadily dropped in the first six months of the year, but the Android platform remains an increasingly popular target for cyber criminals, according to the latest quarterly threat report from security vendor Trend Micro.
The 2Q 2011 Threat Roundup found that the number of exploit attacks fell from 396 in January to 294 in June, and that Microsoft replaced Apple as the most targeted vendor with 96 attacks in the second quarter.
However, Trend Micro warned that the increasing popularity of the Android platform among consumers has made it the subject of at least three attacks - ANDROIDOS_ADSMS.A, ANDROIDOS_DORDRAE.L and ANDROIDOS_ CRUSEWIN.A - over the past three months.
"Like previously discovered Android malware, all three posed as fake apps or updates to trick users into executing them, albeit varying targets," the report noted.
"All three steal a variety of personally identifiable information despite varying the arrival means. These will, however, not be the last Android malware, especially due to the OS's more ‘open nature' compared with competing mobile platforms."
Trend Micro also warned of the continuing proliferation of spammed malicious links on social networking sites. South Korea overtook the US as the top spam-sending country, while fake anti-virus software remains a problem on Windows and Mac platforms.
Finally, there was a word of warning about the constantly evolving SpyEye information stealing Trojan, which could be 'merged' with the infamous ZeuS malware family.
"If and when this happens, we may just see even graver data, identity and financial theft consequences," said Trend Micro.
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