Troublesome Fake Anti-Virus Hits Android

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

Security community fret over the increasing quality of Android malware

More signs have emerged that serious cyber crooks are looking to attack Android users, as fake anti-virus has been seen targeting the Google operating system.

Spied by Symantec, Android Fakedefender is one of the first fake AV samples. It locks people out of using other applications and can also change the settings of the OS, making it tricky for people to uninstall the malware.

More Android malware strikes

“In some cases users may not even be able to perform a factory data reset on the device and will be forced to do a hard reset which involves performing specific key combinations and/or connecting the device to a computer in order to perform a reset using software provided by the manufacturer,” Symantec wrote in its blog post.

“If they are lucky, some users may be able to perform a simple uninstall due to the fact that the app may crash when executed because of compatibility issues.”

Android Fakedefender would look like an ordinary malware scanner, highlighting supposed threats resident on the device, according to Symantec’s video, which you can view below:

The malware was being sold on third-party app stores, which many security companies advise people not to use, unless they have good reason to trust them.

Security researchers now fear fake AV will proliferate on Android, just as it has done on PCs and Macs.

Other recent events have indicated cyber criminals are adopting more PC-like tactics. In April, it emerged the Cutwail botnet was being used to push out spam containing malicious links in an attempt to spread Android malware.

Earlier this month, Russian security firm Kaspersky said it had found the most sophisticated Android Trojan ever, noting its high levels of obfuscation to avoid detection.

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