Yesterday’s news was highlighted by yet another malware attack, this time infected and affecting Android users. This scurilous attack grabbed Android customers who downloaded a malicious app from Google’s Play Store (Play isn’t so playful now, is it?) which turned their phones into members of a hacker controlled botnet.
Can You Say ‘Ouch?’
To be fair about the scourge of malware, it’s everywhere; an all encompassing term which refers to any app, utility, or function that prohibits you from using your device the way it was intended. Without malware.
The malware infecting Android devices is called Viking Horde, a nefarious beast of code which combines with other diseased devices in a botnet attack used for spam, DDoS attacks, and even ad fraud. It’s also a persistent pest which makes it nearly impossible to remove from an infected device.
The Viking Horde malware runs on Android devices. Not iPhone. Wait. What? Don’t both app stores scan the apps they make available. Uh huh. Yep. They sure do. Somehow, Google missed Viking Horde and let it into the wild. No one knows how many devices are infected and joined the malware botnet. You see, Google wants Android device owners to have choices. To be infected in a ‘toxic hellstew’ or not to be infected. Apple’s customers have fewer choices because curated ecosystem.
Malware exits everywhere and even Apple isn’t spared from the tyranny of, well, digital tyranny. But the vast majority of open, in-the-wild malware belongs to Windows users and Android users. Now, we’re not talking worms, viruses, vulnerabilities, and exploits. Malware is a general term.
Malware, short for malicious software, is any software used to disrupt computer operations, gather sensitive information, gain access to private computer systems, or display unwanted advertising… The first category of malware propagation concerns parasitic software fragments that attach themselves to some existing executable content. The fragment may be machine code that infects some existing application, utility, or system program, or even the code used to boot a computer system. Malware is defined by its malicious intent, acting against the requirements of the computer user, and does not include software that causes unintentional harm due to some deficiency.
The company that sells software to scan for malware says infections are up by 15-percent on the Mac, and there are credible threats against iPhone users, too. Another research company says that 97-percent of all mobile device malware remains on Android devices (but not necessarily in the U.S., Europe, and other areas where a measure of curating is done).
Since it’s an actual fact that most malware belongs and resides on Android devices and Windows PCs, why would you pay money to own one of those devices? What should you do if your device becomes infected? How would you know anyway? It’s not like Google and cell phone carriers make security updates easily or readily available for older devices.
What’s going on out there and, potentially, in your device, is nothing short of a war between trusting device owners and nefarious and evil hackers intent upon causing damage, segregating you from your money, gathering and selling your data, asking for ransoms, and causing more public trouble than inexperienced presidential candidates. Someone, somewhere, out there, is out to get you, and you cannot be too cautious.
I decided to vote safe this year. No Android for me. No Windows for me. I just refuse to pay money to buy a malware magnet.