Chinese New Year Rings in Expensive Android Malware and “Madware” attacks


Just in time for Chinese New Year, we are expected to see the most expensive Chinese Android malware ever! According to recent findings by NQ Mobile’s Security Research Center, a new piece of Android malware dubbed “Bill Shocker” has already impacted 620,000 users in China and poses a threat to unprotected Android devices worldwide.


The malware, available as an SDK (software developer kit) can be easily added to popular apps like QQ Messenger and Sohu News. Leveraging the popularity of these legitimate apps, cybercriminals repackage them with the malware SDK. Bill Shocker runs in the background of the unsuspecting victim, stealing user contact lists and taking over the device’s texting features to send premium SMSs (later billed to the victim).


Madware, or aggressive mobile adware, is also expected to grow this year. Aggressive ads and popups are already present in almost 50 percent of mobile apps in certain categories. USA Today’s Byron Acohido reported that “madware caught fire in 2012 and is expected to continue escalating this year.”


Popups, app alerts and notifications are becoming so widespread that it’s becoming impossible for users to distinguish between important legitimate alerts and spam. Fixmo CSO Dan Ford recently wrote about the relationship between madware growth and BYODstating, “with the vast majority of organizations allowing employees to use laptops, tablets and smartphones for work, madware, along with many other types of growing malware attacks, increasingly poses a threat to companies.”  We have to completely agree with Dan—companies need to stress the education of BYOD policies before allowing workers to practice it.