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Android Malware Threat Doubled During 2015


Trend Micro Inc. has come up with a new report in which it reveals that Android malware threat doubled in the year 2015 as compared to 2014, while noting that things aren’t looking too good for 2016 either. Google’s mobile OS has a huge market share, making it an enticing and relatively easy target for hackers. Even with trial and error approach, hackers manage to ensnare a few unsuspecting users with ease. Almost everyone owns a smartphone in the modern day, but they don’t possess enough technical knowledge to keep hackers at bay, thus becoming easy pickings.

Security concerns in Android have been present since the day it was introduced and Google hasn’t been able to put these issues to rest even to this day. It certainly has made some progress, but hackers, being proficient as they are, have continued to come up with new ways to find and exploit the security loopholes in the OS, or to trick its users. Things were pretty bad in 2014, but 2015 was a complete disaster in terms of malware attacks, and this report clearly highlights that.

MediaServer Took Most Hits

Android’s MediaServer component in particular was a popular target among hackers, as it took the most hits in 2015. There are a lot of vulnerabilities present in this component, which can be exploited by the hackers. They use arbitrary code execution techniques to mess up the MediaServer and then take control of the device to mess it up. This kind of hack forces the device to shut down and reboot endlessly.

Major Hacks of 2015

Apart from the MediaServer attacks, hackers can render users’ device completely useless or can manipulate some features at will. They can change the settings and make the device silent, or they can just put up an unresponsive screen. No matter what anyone would do, they won’t be able to use their phones unless the hackers want them to. Hackers seemed pretty creative last year and exploited people’s devices in a lot of different ways, some of which included battery drainage, being stuck at one screen, unresponsive apps, and black screen.

Some Specific Vulnerabilities

Android-based phones are susceptible to debugger attack that can expose whatever is available on a particular device’s memory. Another major issue was specific to Samsung users only. The SwiftKey Keyboard came with a malicious code that masqueraded itself as additional languages pack, and as soon as it was used, it invited malware into the user’s device. This one malware had exploited over 600 million Samsung Galaxy phones, which is a huge number.

The report concluded by stating that at this point, there is no solution to protect Internet of Things (IoT). In order to keep devices protected from the hackers’ reach, developers will need to release regular updates for their apps. Also, Google needs to up its security game in order to keep users and their devices safe from hackers.