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Chinese Android Users Experience Most Mobile Attacks

According to a report released by NetQin Mobile, users in China fell victim to about 64% of the world’s mobile attacks on Android devices in the first quarter of 2011.

According to a report released by NetQin Mobile, users in China fell victim to about 64% of the world’s mobile attacks on Android devices in the first quarter of 2011.

Android Malware in ChinaAccording to NetQin’s numbers, about 2.53 million Android users were infected with mobile malware in the first quarter of 2011, with China taking the lead with the most infections, followed by the U.S. with 7.6%, followed by Russia, India, and Indonesia respectively with 6.1%, 3.4% and 3.2%.

The reports suggests that the high number of affected users in China is partly due to the easy availability of “white box” phones (open phones that are not tied to particular carriers) and a general lack of mobile security awareness among mobile phone users. “White box” phones often run outdated versions of mobile software and are not provided with security support from legal carriers.

Also something to consider– NetQin is a China based company with a large customer base in China which could skew data somewhat. The company did have an IPO on May 5, 2011 and trades under the symbol “NQ” on the New York Stock Exchange.

A report released by Juniper Networks earlier this month showed a significant rise in threats to mobile devices, and highlighted a record number of mobile security threats, including a 400 percent increase in malware targeting the Android operating system.

Much debate has taken place in the industry regarding app store security and, specifically, how applications—many times created by amateur developers—should be examined, policed, and monitored.

The lack of mobile security awareness further adds fuel to the flames, says NetQin, as users often ignore protective measures when engaged in mobile activities, such as using mobile payment channels, web browsing or clicking on URLs from unknown sources, thus allowing more mobile viruses and malware to intrude their mobile devices.

In the consumer pool sampled by NetQin, the reported results of these mobile threats mainly include: malicious fee deduction (up to more than 45%), privacy theft (about 30%), Backdoor (about 12%), fee consumption (about 7%), rogueware (about 5%) and malware that disrupts normal operation of systems (about 1%). NetQin reports that Android Market is the main source of mobile threats, and is responsible for 57% of them. Other sources include unbranded devices and downloading from WAP and WWW websites. NetQin says most of the infected phones are running Froyo, the Android OS V2.2, accounting for 45% of the total, followed by Eclair (Android OS V2.1) and Gingerbread (Android OS V2.3) respectively with 34% and 16%. The popularity of Froyo devices is probably to blame for its becoming the main target of mobile attacks. Android OS V1.6 and previous versions are affected rarely, accounting for less than 5%.

Related Reading: Got Android? Some Considerations on Permissions and Security

Written By

For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.

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