Security

Report: Android cybersecurity attacks up 40%, here are the top 3 threats

According to new research from Avast, cybersecurity threats against Android devices are up, with rooters, downloaders, and fake apps among them.

According to new research from Avast, released Monday, cyberattacks against Android smartphones and tablets are up 40%, year-over-year from Q2 2016. Typically, this averages about 1.2-1.7 million attacks per month, a press release said.

"Mobile cybersecurity attacks are growing rapidly as hackers' strategies become more agile and dangerous, and what's at stake is mostly the user's personal data and privacy," Gagan Singh, general manager of Mobile and IoT at Avast, said in the release.

The researchers found roughly 788 variations of viruses each month, marking a 22.2% increase of variations from the year prior.

SEE: How to build a successful career in cybersecurity (free PDF)

According to the release, the research identified the top three threats facing Android users as rooters, downloaders, and fake apps.

Rooters, which made up 22.8% of the threats, exploit vulnerabilities in order to spy on a user or steal their information. They request root access, or gain it through an exploit, to gain root control and get an inside look at user data, the release said.

Downloaders made up 22.76% of the identified threats. These are spam-based attacks that use social engineering to trick users into downloading a malicious application, the release said. This could lead to spam ads that fill the user's screen, even outside of the malicious app itself. These ads also often link to a malicious website.

Fake apps, also spam-based, accounted for 6.97% if the threats. These are simply illegitimate applications that are masquerading as their real counterparts, the release said. Their ultimate goal is to be downloaded by more users in order to present them with advertisements that make the attackers money.

This research seems to follow a trend of increasing cybersecurity issues targeting Android. In early 2017, malware make a massive impact, with ransomware attacks up 50%, according to a report from ESET. Additionally, trojan attacks like Hummer affected more than 1 million Android users.

For users looking to secure their Android device, check out these tips and tricks from TechRepublic columnist Jack Wallen.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Android cybersecurity threats are up by 40% since last year, according to research from Avast.
  2. There are 1.2-1.7 million Android attacks every month, composed of rooters, downloaders, and fake apps, the report said.
  3. Cybersecurity issues seem to be increasing for Android, with malware and ransomware attacks on the rise as well.

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Image: Image: iStockphoto/KrulUA

About Conner Forrest

Conner Forrest is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He covers enterprise technology and is interested in the convergence of tech and culture.

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