Android Malware Network Disrupted – But Cost Was High

An Android malware network was shut down, but the cost before hand was high.

Angry birds? Try angry users.

Authorities in the United Kingdom have shut down a malware attack that was targeting SMS messages of Android users, according to CBROnline. This malware was hidden within games like “Cut the Rope” and “Angry Birds” in the Android store, making it easy for users to accidentally get it on their phone and cost them a lot of money. In total, the malware may have drained £30,000 (that’s $47,000!) from users. Threats like this highlight the need for application control to secure mobile devices.

The news source said this scam would send premium rate SMS messages when the infected app was open, and so it could have cost you some money while you were enjoying flinging birds at pigs. Nearly 14,000 downloads of the malware apps were made, according to PhonepayPlus, a U.K. mobile regulator.

“We will continue to clamp down on those who wish to take advantage of U.K. smartphone customers,” said Patrick Guthrie, PhonepayPlus’ director of strategy and communications. “The digital economy is vital to the U.K.’s future and we will continue to take action to maintain the confidence of the public … The mobile threat landscape is dominated by malware designed to run on Android – 65 percent of all threats are aimed at this platform.”

Guthrie said everyone should be wary when downloading apps, always remembering that it is much safer to download apps from trusted websites such as Google Play or iTunes. PCWorld gave some quick tips for avoiding Android malware and viruses, including always reading online reviews, researching the publisher of the app, checking app permissions and avoiding the installation of Android package files.

Have you ever had any trouble with malware on your device? Did you ever think “Angry Birds” could be so dangerous? Let us know what your experience has been!

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.