Mobile Malware Evolution: 3 Infection Attempts Per User In 2013

By   ISBuzz Team
Writer , Information Security Buzz | Feb 26, 2014 01:04 am PST

Kaspersky Lab experts have today published the results of their analysis of the mobile threat landscape in 2013.  The analysis has revealed the following figures for 2013:

– Nearly 100,000 new malicious programs for mobile devices were detected in 2013, which is more than double the previous year’s figure of 40,059 samples. As of January 1st  2014, Kaspersky Lab’s collection included 143,211 mobile malware samples.

– 98.1 per cent of all mobile malware detected in 2013 targeted Android devices.

– Approximately 4 million malicious applications were used by cybercriminals to distribute mobile malware for Android-based devices. A total of 10 million malicious Android apps were detected in 2012-2013.

– The top five countries with the highest number of unique attacked users are as follows: Russia (40 per cent), India (8 per cent), Vietnam (4 per cent), Ukraine (4 per cent) and the UK (3 per cent).

The analysis also shows that the majority of mobile malware in 2013 targeted users’ money:

– The number of mobile malware modifications designed for phishing, the theft of bank card information and money from bank accounts increased by a factor of almost 20.

– 2,500 attempted infections by banking Trojans were blocked[1].

Banking Trojans are by far the most dangerous type of mobile malware for users. Some of those  detected in 2013 were more geared towards stealing money from bank accounts rather than from a victim’s mobile account, which significantly increases the potential losses.

Vulnerabilities in the Android OS architecture and its growing popularity were important factors behind the increase in Android banking Trojans in 2013. Cybercriminals appear to have become obsessed with this method of making money: at the beginning of the year there were just 64 known banking Trojans, but by the end of 2013 Kaspersky Lab’s collection contained 1,321 unique samples.

Victor Chebyshev, Virus Analyst at Kaspersky Lab, commented: “Today, the majority of banking Trojan attacks target users in Russia and the CIS. However, that is unlikely to last for long: given the cybercriminals’ keen interest in user bank accounts, the activity of mobile banking Trojans is expected to grow in other countries in 2014. We already know of Perkel, an Android Trojan that attacks clients of several European banks, as well as the Korean malicious program Wroba.”

The increasingly sophisticated route to your money

– Criminals are increasingly using obfuscation, the deliberate act of creating complex code to make it difficult to analyse. The more complex the obfuscation, the longer it will take an antivirus solution to neutralise the malicious code and the more money the fraudsters can steal.

– Methods used to infect a mobile device include compromising legitimate sites and distributing malware via alternative app stores and bots (the bots usually self-proliferate by sending out text messages with a malicious link to addresses in the victim’s address book).

– Android vulnerabilities are used by criminals to enhance the rights of malicious applications which considerably extends their capabilities and makes it more difficult to remove malicious programs. To bypass the code integrity check when installing an application, the Master Key vulnerability is used. The fact that it is only possible to get rid of Android vulnerabilities by receiving an update from the device manufacturer merely complicates the situation further. If a smartphone or tablet was released more than a year ago, it is probably no longer supported by the manufacturer and patching of vulnerabilities is no longer provided. In that case, the only help comes from an antivirus solution


About Kaspersky Lab

kaspersky-logo-580x358Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at

[1] The number of attacks prevented by Kaspersky Lab mobile products in 2013.

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