Will the Android virus threat increase rapidly in 2014, with Android viruses making us wish for the blue screen of death of Windows?
In a related report by The Inquisitr, that idea may not be too far-fetched. As of this past fall, Android viruses have already started using botnets to spread, which is a feature that previously was limited to desktop computer viruses.
The good news is that this Android virus is pretty easy to spot coming according to a description by the Kaspersky Antivirus team:
“This double infection attempt starts with a text message to users, urging them to download a recently received text message. If the victim clicks the link, a file containing Opfake.a is automatically downloaded onto the smartphone or tablet.”
In essence, these Android viruses so far rely on the smartphone user to spread, which limits their abilities. But there is the threat of them becoming more sophisticated over time. Another problem is that as smartphone and tablets begin to take over the role of laptops and desktops their features will be expanded, which may introduce new ways for viruses to spread.
The reason that smartphone users generally don’t run into many problems with viruses is because the Google Play Store offers a “mostly” safe way to download and install apps. Although it’s possible manually installs apps, most users don’t know how to do this, so this means we’ve been blessed with a relatively slow spread of these viruses.
But a new report claims the Google Play Store is not as safe as you might think. According to RiskIQ, the number of Android viruses and malware in apps delivered via the Google Play Store have quadrupled from 2011 to 2013, rising from 11,000 to 42,000. According to Tech Spot, the “malicious tasks performed by the apps uncovered in the study include recording phone conversations, taking full control of the infected handset, stealing personal information such as email addresses, contact lists and GPS data, as well as downloading other malware.” Worse, Google is accused of being slow to remove these Android viruses, with RiskIQ claiming a low removal rate of 25 percent in 2013. All in all, it’s estimated that an astounding four percent of apps in the Google Play Store are riddled with malware.
Are you worried about the threat posed by an Android virus on your smartphone?