AVG: Android Malware Is Pushed via Twitter and Facebook

It's easy to monetize a malicious operation when there are so many potential victims

AVG Technologies released its Community Powered Threat Report for the first quarter of 2012. One of the most interesting parts of the study reveals that social media networks have become great mediums for cybercriminals to push their pieces of malware onto mobile devices.

“We detected a big increase in the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter to target Android users. Cyber criminals are finding it very convenient to distribute their malware straight to a mobile device via these networks,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, chief technology officer at AVG.

“The growth of the Android platform has been phenomenal, which has not gone unnoticed with cyber criminals who have discovered it to be a lucrative target for their malware. In 2011, Google had to remove over 100 malicious apps from the official Android market, Google Play.”

The hundreds of millions of Android owners, combined with the hundreds of millions of social media customers allow cybercriminals to easily monetize their operations.

All they have to do is set up fake Facebook and Twitter profiles, which they can use to post links to their malicious sites.

When it comes to web threats, the report shows that the Blackhole toolkit was the most popular in the past period. Because of its power, complexity and ability to adapt easily, it has recorded a considerable growth in popularity.

The report also covers spam sources. However, in this sector there’s a discrepancy between the AVG study and the one released by Sophos a few days ago. The Sophos “dirty dozen” study named India as being the number one spammer, but AVG appoints the US as still being in the lead.

Actually, the spam sources charts look completely different. The only explanation we found was that Sophos made the top based on the countries that relay spam, while AVG doesn’t detail how the measurements were done, so they may be taking a different approach.

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