The recent position of Android operating system in the market of mobile operating systems is really unquestionable. In addition to user friendly interface, there is a plethora of apps that is made on Android platform and these apps offer a level of convenience that this world has never known before. As a result, approximately 90 percent of the smart phone manufacturers are embracing Android as the preferred operating system. Most smart phone analysts foresee Android to be dominant in smart phones, much like Windows is dominant in the desktop PCs.
The latest research work suggests that over 95% of the world’s mobile malware in the year 2013 targeted the Android devices and it is approximately 15% more than the previous year. Furthermore, the research shows that the malware signatures’ total number is on the rapid rise. That is not all. Hackers and other cybercriminals are also targeting the platform using advanced spying technologies like SMS tracker, making a complete mockery of user privacy in the process to fulfill their malicious agendas. Here are some of the biggest security risks for Android devices:
- AWOL Androids: Loss content is one of the top concerns about any mobile device. In a survey conducted by Juniper, 58 percent of tablet and smartphone users feared not being able to recover its lost content. Users of Apple iPhone can easily restore nearly everything from the iTunes application, but Androids are not managed via desktop sync. Data loss can be avoided by installing an auto-backup app or by enrolling your Android with one of the many available “find me” services to recover and locate the lost devices.
- Repackaged and Fraudulent Apps: Some android applications are not what they appear to be. Many of the repackaged apps found on the third-party Android markets are legitimate free apps that are repackaged to generate ad-revenue. But, this repackaging is also used to implant the Android trojans, like the Android.Geinimi trojan (turns infected phones into bots) and the Android.Pjapps trojan (included in modified versions of the Steamy Windows app). These viruses can be avoided by installing apps only from the Google Android Market. It is also advised to the enterprises to conduct rigorous application security testing of their mobile apps.
- SMShing: Now, this phishing variant uses texting in order to trick mobile phone users into visiting malicious or fraudulent links. The hackers are now being drawn to the openness and popularity of Android. For example, SMS recipients can be invited to download Trojan-SMS, Android OS, Fake Player, or any free Movie Player. Once installed, this malware starts texting premium-rate numbers, without the knowledge of users, ringing up huge bills.
- Naked Data: Lack of hardware data encryption is a major business risk posed by Android. Fortunately, the version Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) adds an API so as to let manufacturers offer encryption. Unfortunately, the existing Android version can’t yet perform encryption of hardware. Until self-encrypting Androids appear, all the stored data can be protected by scrambling sensitive data such as contacts and email using self-encrypted apps (e.g., Exchange Touchdown, Good for Enterprise)
Now these days, hackers are coming with advance ideas to inject the malware or adware into the phone, or steal the credentials from the phone. In order to make android smartphone safe and secure for the users, stringent mobile application security testing is required.