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Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:37

Malicious Android apps triple in three months.

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The number of malicious Android apps on Google Play trebled from Q1 to pass the 25,000 mark in the the three months to 30 June, According to Trend Micro's latest Security Roundup Report.

"With more than 400 million active Android-based devices and more than 600,000 apps available on Google Play, the number of attacks has nowhere to go but up," Trend Micro said. "The fact that only 20 percent of Android-based devices have security apps installed does not help."

It adds that Android spying tools "Underwent a refresh with the release of the Spyera app, aka the Tigerbot malware, which is capable of not just run-of-the-mill spying tactics but also of recording victims' phone calls."

There was also a spying tool that was downloaded from Google Play by an estimated 500–1,000 users before being taken down. This was first reported by Trend Micro in May, when it said: "Based on our analysis, this spytool gathers SMS messages from an infected mobile device and sends these to a remote FTP server at regular times set during the app's installation."

Another bad app, Spy Phone PRO+ was "One of 17 bad mobile apps that [in total] were downloaded as many as 700,000+ times before they were taken down from Google Play."

One particularly worrying nasty detected during the quarter was Botpanda. According to Trend Micro it "allows cybercriminals to gain root privileges on infected devices; contains a malicious library file that makes infected devices access specific C&C servers [and] hides malicious routines, making detection and removal very difficult to do."

Trend Micro offers a free app (BotPanda Cleaner) that can detect and remove Botpanda, but it warns: "If more Android malware use [the same] technique in the future, delivering analysis and solutions will prove to be challenging for security experts."

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