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Report: Android, Facebook Plagued by Malware

Wed, 04/20/2011 - 8:20am
Andrew Berg

As has been widely predicted, malware and viruses are increasingly a part of the mobile landscape, requiring security measures on par with those employed on desktop PCs. A report released today from security firm AVG shows Android and Facebook have seen a rash of security breaches recently.

The AVG Community Powered Threat Report for the first quarter of 2011 shows a dramatic increase in the overall number of global attacks, including "malicious campaigns which exploited the viral nature of Facebook users, which have increased threefold in the last 12 months."

Additionally, the report highlighted an increase in "Blackhole Exploit Kits," which the company says are used by criminals to coordinate attacks.

"The increasing professionalism behind some of the threats clearly demonstrates the profit that can be made," said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer for AVG Technologies, in a statement. "These campaigns are well planned and well funded; therefore, they demand not only for very effective counter technical measures but also for the need to raise awareness among the average user."

As an example, Ben-Itzhak notes that a Latvian gang was able to bring 600 attack servers online for just a couple of weeks in a highly targeted Blackhole attack. The result was over 800,000 detections per day by the company's servers.

"If this amount of investment apparently pays off for these gangs, others will probably follow soon," he said.

With smartphones becoming more like computers, the first quarter saw a notable increase in risk for smartphone users and the Android platform in particular. AVG says it blocked an average of 100,000 spam and phishing text messages per day.

AVG says the open source nature of the Android OS, which allows users to install virtually any software on their smartphones, opens the door for hackers to write malicious code.

The Community Powered Threat Report is based on research and analysis of data produced over the three-month period. The report provides an overview of web, mobile devices, spam risks and threats. The statistics referenced are obtained from the AVG Community Protection Network.

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