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    As Android gets popular, so does Android malware

    As Android devices get more popular (today comScore reports Android phones comprise 40% of the U.S. smartphone market), they're becoming a more attractive target for cybercriminals. If you use an Android smartphone, you are now 2.5 times more likely to encounter malware (malicious software) than you were six months ago.


    As Android gets popular, so does Android malware
    By Amy Gahran, Special to CNN
    August 5, 2011 2:28 p.m. EDT | Filed under:
    Mobile






    Most mobile users are more trusting of downloading and installing software on their phones in comparison to their computers.

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Attackers are using new techniques to distribute malware to phones
    • Android is a bigger mobile security concern because it's an open platform
    • It pays to stay alert to unusual activity on your phone
    • Scrutinize permissions for Android apps before you download them



    RELATED TOPICS




    Editor's note: Amy Gahran writes about mobile tech for CNN.com. She is a San Francisco Bay Area writer and media consultant whose blog,
    Contentious.com


    , explores how people communicate in the online age.

    (CNN) -- As Android devices get more popular (today
    comScore reports


    Android phones comprise 40% of the U.S. smartphone market), they're becoming a more attractive target for cybercriminals. If you use an Android smartphone, you are now 2.5 times more likely to encounter malware (malicious software) than you were six months ago.
    This isn't just about apps. This year, 30% of Android users are likely to encounter a Web-based threat such as phishing scams, "drive by downloads" and browser exploits.
    This is according to a new
    threat report


    from Lookout Mobile Security. Obviously, Lookout is selling mobile-security tools. However, individual and collective mobile security risks are real.
    Whether you opt to pay for mobile security, use a free service or manage it yourself, you should be aware of the risks and use basic mobile safety skills.
    Cybercriminals aren't simply targeting Android devices more often, they're also getting sneakier about it.
    Specifically, Lookout notes that attackers are using new techniques to distribute malware to phones. These include "malvertising" (ads served up through legitimate apps that lead you to a fake Android market and trick you into downloading malware, like
    GGtracker


    ) and "upgrade attacks" (where the initially downloaded app is clean, but later upgrades deploy malware).
    How can mobile malware harm you? First of all, cybercriminals can rack up charges to your phone bill through "carrier billing," a payment option that wireless carriers are increasingly pushing -- and which Google is starting to make possible for
    Android market app purchases


    . Malware also can sign you up for "premium SMS" text messaging services.





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    Last edited by Chris Rodriguez; 08-12-2011 at 12:02 PM.
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