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Cheetah Mobile June Threat Report a Warning to Android Users

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July 09, 2014

Cheetah Mobile June Threat Report a Warning to Android Users

By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

While some might consider the mobile device to be largely immune to things like malware and the like, that would be a deeply flawed consideration indeed. In fact, Cheetah Mobile Inc. recently released its June threat report that shows just how dangerous the mobile world can actually be, with some flatly frightening warnings for Android (News - Alert) device users, who have a particular reason for concern this time, particularly if said users turn to a mobile device for banking or mobile payments.

The Cheetah Mobile June threat report noted that malware for mobile payments and mobile banking systems was actually on the rise in June, and the number of infected devices—as well as breeds of malware in general with an eye on Android—was likewise up. Of particular concern was the number of malware apps that were spoofing bank sites or otherwise manipulating victims to hand over personal data.

The numbers involved, meanwhile, served only to make the threat clearer. In the period between May 16 and June 15, the number of Android users infected by mobile payment malware daily rose from just over 11,000 users to almost 17,000 users per day. So far, over 100 separate countries have seen some kind of mobile payment malware arrive with Vietnam proving one of the strongest such presences for same with 61,366 total infected users. Russia and Taiwan rounded out the most infected countries, with 20,476 and 19,667 infected users, respectively. The United States, meanwhile, was scarcely immune, with 1,854 infected users in June 2014, up from 1,311 in March 2014.

Four significant threats were found in June and became tracked by Cheetah Mobile. First was Simplelocker, a new breed of Cryptolocker, which represented the first malware that could encrypt data. At last report there were 40 known variants of Simplelocker, and the most infected countries were Russia with 6,330 users, the United States with 2,520 users, and the Ukraine with 2,280 users. Second was the combination of newcomers Android.Trojan.fubus and Android.Trojan.Fakeinst, a pair of trojans that could accomplish a variety of dark tasks from mobile payments to mobile data theft. Third was “Express Delivery,” a breed of malware with 35 known variants that has mostly hit Taiwan, around 20,000 such users in the region. Finally, there's “Korean BankKiller,” which as its name suggests mostly strikes Korean users at the rate of around 4,000 a day.

Naturally, the only reasonable response to developments like these is to engage in the fullest scope of anti-malware tools, like antivirus protections and the like, and to also engage in careful monitoring of payment accounts and bank balances. The sooner a problem can be spotted, the sooner it can be addressed and likely brought to a positive conclusion, or at least, a conclusion as positive as the situation can really allow. There are plenty of tools, thankfully, geared to deal with this kind of situation, and the fullest use of same is likely to provide a good outcome.

It's not surprising that, with more people using mobile devices for shopping and banking, more opportunity is in turn posed to bad actors who want an unauthorized cut of someone's hard-earned cash. But this is still good news, in a way; knowing about it, and its extent, provides the impetus to work to protect it, and the Cheetah Mobile June threat report should be providing Android users with just such an impetus.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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