Anatomy Of Android Malware

Always wonder about malware and Androids? One research group is taking an in-depth look into how they work together.

You may have noticed the increase in the number of smartphone threats, malware and viruses being reported as of late. It hasn’t gone unnoticed by researchers either, as Tom’s Guide recently described what it calls the “the Center for Disease Control, only for Android malware.” North Carolina State researchers launched the Android Malware Genome Project to look at the evolution and characteristics of malware on Android to better understand future generations and better protect devices.

“The popularity and adoption of smartphones has greatly stimulated the spread of mobile malware, especially on the popular platforms such as Android,” the Android Malware Genome Project’s website said. “In light of their rapid growth, there is a pressing need to develop effective solutions. However, our defense capability is largely constrained by the limited understanding of these emerging mobile malware and the lack of timely access to related samples.”

Xuxian Jiang, the leader of the project, told Tom’s Guide that as users of Android have found, there’s a lot of malware samples out there in the wild and not really too much understanding of what makes any of it tick. This is important, as antivirus programs and other systems that look to protect phones need to know how to attack the virus or other exploit.

“Basically, at this stage, we want to open up first our current collection of Android malware samples and make them available to research community,” Jiang told the news source. “The purpose is to engage the research community to better our understanding of mobile threats and develop effective solutions against them.”

NC State has collected 1,200 Android samples which will be shared with Genome Project participants. They will look to see what they can do with these viruses before showing the public their findings and research. The news source said Jiang told the IEEE Symposium on Security and Privacy in San Francisco earlier this month that defense of Android devices is limited due to the lack of understanding, so the researchers want to have a hand in developing next-generation mobile security solutions to help protect individual users and businesses.

For all you Android users out there, what approach do you take regarding security? Do you have any kind of security solution or application control to help keep malware and other threats off your device? Let us know in the comments!

Kate Beckham

Kate has been lighting up the blogosphere for over 5 years, with a keen interest in social media and new malware threats. When not sitting at a café behind her Mac, you’ll usually find her scouring the racks for vintage finds or playing guitar.