Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

8/5/2011
09:00 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
50%
50%

Android Malware On The Rise

The unvetted Android app marketplace is a major cause of the escalating attacks on the platform.

All platforms, mobile or otherwise, are subject to malware. The bigger platforms, though, are the juicer target for criminals simply because the numbers are larger. After all, why go after a platform with 1% share?

Windows is the top desktop platform and a target-rich environment for criminals. It doesn't necessarily mean the operating system is any less secure than the competition. It's just getting attacked in far greater quantities. Android is king of the hill when it comes to mobility and it may be suffering a bit of the same fate.

With Android, though, it isn't just about market share. It is also how apps are loaded on the platform. With a model like Apple has with iOS and Microsoft has with Windows Phone 7, it is very difficult to get apps on the device without the app going through an audit to ensure it: does what it claims; doesn't violate a set of rules designed to protect the device, network, and user data; and most of all, doesn't contain malware. No process is perfect and surely somewhere in the 300,000-plus apps in the App Store there is some code that was written to cause some sort of mischief, but should that happen, Apple will just flip the kill switch and remove the app from your phone.

Android doesn't have those protections. First of all, the Android Market doesn't subject apps to the scrutiny that Apple does, and that has caused more than one app in the Market to be a source of infection. Just two months ago Google removed 26 malicious apps.

Secondly, even if Google tightened its application approval process, you aren't forced to use the Android Market exclusively. If you want an app on your iPhone, you are locked into the App Store. (This ignores those that jailbreak their devices. I ignore that group of people when it comes to security because they are deliberately bypassing built-in security features, so they're on your own there.) With Android, you can choose from a variety of markets, none of which are approved by Google, so who knows what you risk when downloading from those?

According to Lookout Mobile Security, half a million Android users were affected by malware in the first six months of this year.

If you are an IT manager, this should give you pause. It is one more thing to worry about when deploying devices. Educate your users on downloading from trusted sources and consider the various antivirus products for Android. Having a phone that is infected is a hassle and can cause data loss; having it cause the loss or theft of corporate data can be catastrophic.

Google should step up here and at least provide a marketplace that is as tightly run as the App Store is. That would give users a lot of comfort that, when downloading from the main source of Android apps, there should be very little to worry about.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Commentary
Cyberattacks Are Tailored to Employees ... Why Isn't Security Training?
Tim Sadler, CEO and co-founder of Tessian,  6/17/2021
Edge-DRsplash-10-edge-articles
7 Powerful Cybersecurity Skills the Energy Sector Needs Most
Pam Baker, Contributing Writer,  6/22/2021
News
Microsoft Disrupts Large-Scale BEC Campaign Across Web Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  6/15/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
The State of Cybersecurity Incident Response
In this report learn how enterprises are building their incident response teams and processes, how they research potential compromises, how they respond to new breaches, and what tools and processes they use to remediate problems and improve their cyber defenses for the future.
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-34390
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Trusty TLK contains a vulnerability in the NVIDIA TLK kernel function where a lack of checks allows the exploitation of an integer overflow on the size parameter of the tz_map_shared_mem function.
CVE-2021-34391
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Trusty TLK contains a vulnerability in the NVIDIA TLK kernel�s tz_handle_trusted_app_smc function where a lack of integer overflow checks on the req_off and param_ofs variables leads to memory corruption of critical kernel structures.
CVE-2021-34392
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Trusty TLK contains a vulnerability in the NVIDIA TLK kernel where an integer overflow in the tz_map_shared_mem function can bypass boundary checks, which might lead to denial of service.
CVE-2021-34393
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Trusty contains a vulnerability in TSEC TA which deserializes the incoming messages even though the TSEC TA does not expose any command. This vulnerability might allow an attacker to exploit the deserializer to impact code execution, causing information disclosure.
CVE-2021-34394
PUBLISHED: 2021-06-22
Trusty contains a vulnerability in all TAs whose deserializer does not reject messages with multiple occurrences of the same parameter. The deserialization of untrusted data might allow an attacker to exploit the deserializer to impact code execution.