Growing Number of Mobile Device Infections Traced Back to Social Media

On Friday, the internet and mobile security experts at AVG Technologies released its Q1 2012 Community Powered Threat Report.

The report raises awareness about the use of mobile devices in connecting with social networks and how this is fast becoming a preferred method for cyber criminals to spread malware – primarily to Android-powered 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,” says 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.”

With Facebook likely to see its user base reach 1 billion this year, AVG says that criminals who target Facebook translates to targeting around 14 percent of world’s population or approximately 43 per cent of global internet users.

Consider also that there are over 300 million Android phones already activated, with over 850,000 Android phones and tablets added to that number each day, and it is clear these two trends combined result in a new threat: infecting Android devices using social networks.

As the Q1 2012 Community Powered Threat Report shows:

  • On Facebook, all it takes for a cyber criminal to attack is to set up a fake profile which downloads malware to a device and randomly invite Facebook users.
  • On Twitter, a cyber criminal creates a spam profile and then posts tweets containing shortened hyperlinks to malware using trending hashtags. The way in which Twitter works makes sure the tweet appears on the top of many people’s Twitter feed.

To learn more, check out AVG’s official website here.