Android malware can place a company's 'future at risk', report warns

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In the U.S. market, malware threats against Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Android smartphones are exceeding threats against PCs, the traditional targets of hackers, according to Sophos' Security Threat Report 2013.

"In the mobile space, the big security story of the year is Android and the huge increase in malware we have seen attacking Android platforms," said SophosLabs Manager Richard Wang.

This poses increased risks for IT managers as more and more Android devices are being brought into the enterprise environment.

According to SophosLabs, the threat exposure rate--defined as the percentage of PCs and Android devices that experience a malware attack over a three month period--of Android devices exceeds the PC threat exposure rate in the U.S. and Australia.

"We will certainly be keeping an eye on this through the next 12 months, looking at how much that develops and how much the attackers are moving their attacks from PCs to the mobile space as more and more valuable data is stored on mobile devices," Wang told FierceMobileIT.

Malware developers are using a software technique known as the "GingerBreak exploit" to gain root access, install malicious code, and communicate with a remote website to download and install additional malware on breached Android devices, explained the report. This enables the malware to avoid detection and removal, while recruiting the device into a global botnet.

The report warned that the enterprise security risks posed by Android are growing. "Android malware can place a company's future at risk by exposing strategic information or stealing passwords," the report cautioned.

Wang said that an enterprise implementing BYOD needs to be concerned about security policies and security deployed on mobile devices, particularly Android. Enterprises need to ensure that they can look at the security status of devices that employees are bringing on to the corporate network and enforce a security policy on them.

For more:
- read the Sophos report

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