Trend Micro, one of the largest security software firms in the world, have released a report that claims Android malware proliferated faster in 2015 than ever before, in terms of total new cases reported in a calendar year. According to researchers from the Tokyo, Japan-based internet security company, twice as many cases of new Android malware were reported last year, as compared to figures from an year earlier. The company released a statement detailing some of its concerns regarding the increasing cases of malware on Android, saying that the operating system’s “MediaServer component took a lot of hits in 2015. Vulnerabilities found in the component can be exploited to perform attacks using arbitrary code execution. Such attacks could force a device’s system to go on endless reboot, draining its battery”.
Trend Micro says that about 10.6 million Android malware attacks were spotted in just the fourth quarter of last year alone, as opposed to the last three months of 2014, which saw 4.26 million such cases, which in itself, is a substantial number. The company also says that that the challenge to IoT (Internet of Things) devices could even be higher, seeing as companies manufacturing such devices are still not putting security at the top of their agenda, leaving millions potentially vulnerable to crippling malware attacks, whether targeted or random. While fragmentation of Android has often been cited by security researchers as one of the main reasons for security vulnerabilities not getting patches up in time, the situation is even more acute with IoT devices, which makes rolling out security updates in a controlled, centralized manner well-nigh impossible.
Of course, a lot have been said and written about the so-called ‘Stagefright’ security exploit that was the talk of the town several months back, but reports of new vulnerabilities keep emerging every now and again as well, and while some of them affect the OS itself, others affect certain apps which can then create substantial issues. Reports of the ‘Majar’ malware that can apparently spread through text messages, the Samsung SwiftKey vulnerability that reportedly affected over 600 million Samsung Galaxy smartphones or the Truecaller security flaw that had left millions vulnerable until security researchers at Cheetah Mobile reported the issue to the relevant developers, are all examples of recent security scares for the whole Android eco-system.
However, even as Android continues to take the heat for security vulnerabilities that keep popping up in spite of Google’s best efforts at tackling the menace, it is, by no means, the only OS to be affected by such problems. Security issues on desktop Windows has been well-documented for decades now, and even iOS, once thought to be free from the malware menace, had to endure some high-profile vulnerabilities like Quicksand and AirDrop in 2015, making such issues more widespread than ever.