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Android mobile malware rebounds in Q2, reports McAfee

Warwick Ashford

Android-based malware has grown by 35% in the second quarter, according to the latest threat report from security firm McAfee.

This represents a rebound, as this growth rate has not been seen since early

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2012.

McAfee said the rebound is marked by the continued proliferation of SMS text-stealing banking malware, fraudulent dating and entertainment apps, weaponised legitimate apps and malicious apps posing as useful tools.

McAfee Labs registered twice as many new ransomware samples in the second quarter as in the first quarter, raising the 2013 ransomware count higher than the total found in all previous periods combined.  

The second quarter also saw a 16% increase in suspicious URLs, a 50% increase in digitally-signed malware samples, and notable events in the cyber attack and espionage areas.

These include multiple attacks on the global Bitcoin infrastructure and revelations around the Operation Troy network targeting US and South Korean military assets.

“The mobile cyber crime landscape is becoming more defined as cyber gangs determine which tactics are most effective and profitable,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice-president at McAfee Labs.

“As in other mature areas of cyber crime, the profit motive of hacking bank accounts has eclipsed the technical challenges of bypassing digital trust,” he said.

According to Weafer, tactics such as the dating and entertainment app scams benefit from the lack of attention paid to such schemes.

Others, he said, simply target the mobile paradigm’s most popular currency: personal user information.