Top Seven Malicious Android Phone Attacks

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Premium rate number billing scams, spyware, pay-per-click scams and search engine poisoning are just some of the top seven attacks being directed at Android phones.

The warning comes as an Internet security company delivers a definitive list of malicious attacks being directed at Android phones.

“Mobile technology is advancing at a rapid pace and cybercriminals are keeping close tabs on these developments,” said Eric Chien, Technical Director, Symantec Security Technology and Response.

“The marked increase in mobile malware – particularly that targeting the Android platform – is likely only the beginning in terms of both the quantity of threats and their sophistication.”

Android phone users who may already be aware they should be careful on their PC, should be just as careful when using their phone.

Some particularly nasty attacks compromise the phone's security, or trick the user out of money. Premium rate billing scams work by making the unsuspecting phone user's phone send expensive texts to a premium phone number hidden in certain fraudulent apps.

mTan stealing, like the Android.Smssniffer, works by intercepting security codes sent to phones via banks, and getting stuck into users' bank account. For the attack to work, the targeted phone must already house some malware, probably via a malicious app.

Other threats include spyware, search engine poisoning, pay-per-click scams, pay-per-install schemes and adware.

Symantec believe future attacks could target devices when they are used to make payments, like near-field communications (NFC). That's the instant payment system being trialled at the moment where phones could be used to make small payments.

Earlier this year, Google identified an Android Trojan horse malware program called DroidDream. The apps were removed quickly, according to the Google mobile blog.

PC World published has published a list of ways to avoid malware on Android phones. Their top tip? Don't download dodgy looking apps.

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Filed by Melanie Hick