Quarterly report outlines Android vulnerabilities as biggest security concern

Android vulnerabilities, increased online banking threats and the availability of sophisticated and inexpensive malware toolkits are some of the biggest security concerns of the moment, according to Trend Micro's Q2 2013 Security Roundup Report.

In its report, Trend Micro put particular emphasis on the Android mobile operating system, which it said was directly in the crosshairs of hackers. One of the biggest problems is that, despite the Android threat landscape continuing to expand, users who adopt Android are still giving little thought to security.

Trend Micro's report showed that the number of malicious and high-risk Android apps grew to 718,000 in the second quarter -- a massive increase from the 509,000 found in the first quarter. Trend Micro predicted that these malicious apps will exceed 1 million by the end of the year.

In comparison, it took a decade for PC-based malware to reach such numbers, according to Trend Micro. The security vendor added that hackers are routinely finding exploits that, in some cases, are never patched.

"Due to the fractured nature of the Android network, it is very difficult for patches to reach all users in an effective timeframe. In some cases, users will never get patches as vendors leave their customers at risk of attack," said JD Sherry, Vice President of Technology and Solutions, Trend Micro.

"Until we have the same urgency to protect mobile devices as we have for protecting PCs, this very real threat will continue to grow rapidly. At the rate this malware is accelerating -- almost exponentially -- we appear to be reaching a critical mass."

The Trend Micro report also warned of the increasing hazards to online banking, which saw malware increasing by 29 percent from the previous quarter -- from 113,000 to 146,000 infections. The vendor recommended adopting preventative measures such as closely monitoring account activity and using third-party security solutions to mitigate the threat.

Lastly, the report noted that the methods for selling malware toolkits have evolved. Sophisticated malicious tools are now being sold via inexpensive, free or bundled pricing schemes, Trend Micro said.

Trend Micro releases a Security Roundup report every quarter. The analysis is designed to describe cyber-security threats from the previous quarter, as well as evaluate and anticipate emerging attacks, the vendor said.

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