Phil Schiller [Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing] recently tweeted a link to a report that said 99% of all mobile malware is directed at Android. Usually the malware comes through the web in the form of phishing or other tactics but it usually doesn’t come from PCs. However, that’s not the case with a particular piece of malware uncovered by Symantec that installs malware onto Android devices when they are connected to Windows PCs. The malware, called Trojan.Droidpak, installs a fake version of the Google Play store when the Android device is connected to PCs in “USB debugging mode.” That mode is usually only used by developers, but is also sometimes necessary for rooting Android devices or installing alternative Android firmware.
Symantec’s website has information on this and recommends the following to avoid falling victim to this new infection vector:
1. Turn off USB debugging on your Android device when you are not using it
2. Exercise caution when connecting your mobile device to untrustworthy computers
3. Install reputable security software, such as Norton Mobile Security
4. Visit the Symantec Mobile Security website for general safety tips
Well, one expected Symantec to recommend their own software. Only makes sense. Still, watch out for the bugs. Developers and people who love to root, take note.