One in six Android apps is a malware, says study

BENGALURU: One in every six Android applications is a malware, according to a study by technology security company Symantec. The study also found that 36% of all Android applications are Graywares, which are not malicious by design but do annoying and inadvertently harmful things like tracking user behaviour.

In what could be seen as a warning to the large number of startups emerging in India, the study said cyber attackers are focusing more on small- and mid-sized business firms now since these are the ones that are increasingly creating intellectual property. It said 60% of all targeted attacks struck such organizations in 2014.

"The attackers know that a large portion of intellectual properties are generated from smaller companies. With hundreds of startups coming up every day in India, the number of attacks are likely to rise as companies give more importance to bringing a product to market quickly than on security," Tarun Kaura, director of Symantec's technology sales for India & Saarc, told TOI.

Symantec said the research was conducted on 6.3 million Android applications. "We found that roughly 17% of all the apps come right under the classification of malware. Also, 2.3 million apps that are available today track the users' behaviour," said Kaura. The study also found that nearly one million malwares are created every day across the globe. "Around 317 million malwares were created in 2014. This was a 26% rise from 2013," Kaura said.

Bengaluru, Mumbai, Delhi, Hyderabad and Kochi are the cities that came most under cyberattacks last year. Among the various business sectors in India, those dealing with critical infrastructure like banking, telecom, transport and energy were subjected to the most attacks. India is among the top 10 infected countries in the world.

India is also ranked second after the US under social media scams, the report said. One of the major social media scams was a click-bait video link inviting Facebook users to watch the farewell message of late Hollywood actor Robin Williams which he allegedly shot before committing suicide on August 11 last year. Williams had never recorded a farewell message, and the link led to a malware. The post was automatically shared too by the ones who clicked on the link, thus reaching to more vulnerable users.

Symantec said the study is based on empirical data collected by its global intelligence network. It said the study tracked 8.4 billion emails every month and 1.8 billion websites every day in 157 countries using 57.6 million attack sensors.
Source: TOI