Android malware barometer shows that a storm is brewing


For cyber criminals, Android is the number one mobile target. G Data Security Labs registered almost 520,000 new malicious files for the operating system in the first half of 2013, as shown by the current G Data Mobile Malware Report. Versatile Trojan horses were the perpetrators' weapon of choice for luring users into malware traps. In developing malicious apps, criminals also rely on complex disguises for the malware code to make analyses more difficult and hide the malicious function as well as possible. Another trend is the increasing use of specialised malware kits, which make it easier for inexperienced perpetrators to steal data. For the second half of the year, G Data expects Android malware to grow threefold and expects perpetrators to take a more long-term approach to attacks.


"With almost 520,000 new malware files for Android, the mobile malware flood has reached a new high. A current cyber crime trend is the development of special malware kits, which are easy to use for even inexperienced online criminals," explains Ralf Benzmüller, head of G Data Security Labs. "Android will retain its dominant position in the smartphone and tablet segment over the coming months. We therefore expect mobile malware to triple."

An ever-increasing number of malware apps detected by G Data Security Labs has been equipped with complex camouflaged code, making manual and automatic analyses more difficult. The attackers are also relying on more long-term attack patterns: "The criminals hide the malicious functions in manipulated apps to stop users discovering them and removing the application. This means that the malicious app remains active on the infected mobile device for as long as possible, in order to make money with premium services or steal personal data, depending on its purpose," notes Ralf Benzmüller.

Almost 520,000 new malware files within six months
In the first half of the year, G Data Security Labs registered a total of 519,095 new malware files. Compared to the second half of 2012, that is an increase of 180 percent. The number of malware families doubled to 454. Among the classified malware files, Trojan horses had a share of 86 percent.







Three cyber crime trends for the coming months

  • Triple the number of new Android malware files: The number of new malware files will continue to increase similarly to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets using Google's operating system. The experts at G Data Security Labs expect this to triple in the second half of 2013.
  • Increasing popularity of malware kits: The development and sale of malware kits will continue to be a lucrative cyber crime trend in the second half of the year. This is because kits make it easy for inexperienced perpetrators to turn into online criminals, profiting from selling their spoils on underground markets or making money with expensive premium services.
  • Increasingly disguised malware apps: The malware functions in manipulated apps are being increasingly disguised – both in the program code, making analyses more difficult, and in the functionality of the application. This makes it harder for users to detect and remove malware apps. This enables criminals to spy on users and their mobile devices for as long as possible and exploit them for their criminal purposes.

For more results, see the G Data Mobile Malware Report at: