Nav: Home

Researchers measure smartphone malware infection rates

April 08, 2014

There is a steady stream of news stories and announcements about how many more new strains of Android malware appear in every passing year. Data showing infection rates in the real world has been hard to come by. There is a lot of data about the number of different malware samples discovered but not so much about the extent they are actually found in the wild. If smartphones are infected to the same extent as personal computers used to be, the resulting damage would be much more severe.

The few estimates that were out there vary greatly: ranging from more than 4 per cent of Android devices, according to an estimate by an anti-virus company, to less than 0.0009 per cent of smartphones in the US, according to a different estimate by group of academic researchers from the US.

What is the reason for this disparity?

University of Helsinki researchers working at the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Secure Computing (ICRI-SC) will present a paper at this year's World Wide Web conference which provides an answer to this question based on their work in the "Malware Insights" project.

The project team, consisting of Hien Truong, Eemil Lagerspetz, Sourav Bhattacharya, and Petteri Nurmi working under the guidance of Professor N. Asokan and Professor Sasu Tarkoma have been investigating the true extent of malware infection in Android devices. Working with Adam J. Oliner from the UC Berkeley AMP Lab, they discovered that infection rates in Android devices at around 0.25 per cent are significantly higher than the previous independent estimate. The project collected anonymized data from over 50 000 devices during a seven-month period.

An arXiv research report based on the work being done at the "Malware Insights" project at the department of Computer Science, has been featured in MIT Technology Review's "Emerging Technology From the arXiv" section.

The researchers also speculated that smartphones infected with malicious apps may have other, benign, apps in common, possibly because the users purchase them all from the same app market. Based on this conjecture, the researchers investigated if it is possible to develop a technique to identify devices infected with previously unknown malware. In their dataset, this approach is up to five times more likely to identify infected devices than by choosing devices at random.

The Malware Insights project is part of the research being done at the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Secure Computing (ICRI-SC).
-end-
For further information about the project or ICRI-SC, contact

Prof. N. Asokan (mailto:n.asokan@cs.helsinki.fi) or Prof. Sasu Tarkoma (mailto:sasu.tarkoma@cs.helsinki.fi).

Quotes

"This is only the beginning. We are now trying to improve the accuracy of our results and are investigating whether we can identify vulnerable devices even before they are infected. I am very excited about the prospects of using data insights to improve security techniques." - Asokan

"The detection of zero-day malware applications is crucial for enabling the mitigation of their adverse effects. Our work aims to detect vulnerable devices and screen them so that new malware applications can be stopped as fast as possible". - Tarkoma

Best regards,

Minna Meriläinen-Tenhu
Press Officer
University of Helsinki
+358 50 415 0316
minna.merilainen@helsinki.fi

University of Helsinki

Related Smartphones Articles:

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.
New solution to elderly falls: drones, smartphones and sensors
Drones, smartphones and sensors could provide a lifeline to the world's growing elderly population at risk of falls, helping to cut global hospital costs.
A step closer to future 5G smartphones with the world's first Antenna-on-Display
A University-Industry research consortium lead by Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH) and joined by industry partners such as Dong-Woo Fine Chem, SK Telecom, LG Electronics, Keysight Technologies, and Y.Tech announced the world's first 'Antenna-on-Display (AoD)' technology.
New sensor detects rare metals used in smartphones
A more efficient and cost-effective way to detect lanthanides, the rare earth metals used in smartphones and other technologies, could be possible with a new protein-based sensor that changes its fluorescence when it binds to these metals.
Using smartphones and laptops to simulate deadly heart arrhythmias
Using graphics processing chips designed for gaming applications and software that runs on ordinary web browsers, researchers have moved the modeling of deadly spiral wave heart arrhythmias to less costly computers, and even to high-end smartphones.
Infectious diseases could be diagnosed with smartphones in sub-Saharan Africa
A new Imperial-led review has outlined how health workers could use existing phones to predict and curb the spread of infectious diseases.
Smartphones help UB researcher better understand the nature of depression and anxiety
A University at Buffalo psychologist's research using smartphones is providing valuable data in real time, information that could provide treatment benefits for patients struggling with anxiety and depression.
Selfies to self-diagnosis: Algorithm 'amps up' smartphones to diagnose disease
Smartphones aren't just for selfies anymore. A novel cell phone imaging algorithm developed at FAU can now analyze assays typically evaluated via spectroscopy, a powerful device used in scientific research.
MU scientists use smartphones to improve dismal rating of nation's civil infrastructure
In the United States, aging civil infrastructure systems are deteriorating on a massive scale.
Smartphone use risks eye examination misdiagnosis
Clinicians who use smartphones to capture photographs of patients' eyes risk misdiagnosis if they base their decisions on objective data extracted from non-calibrated cameras.
More Smartphones News and Smartphones Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Uncharted
There's so much we've yet to explore–from outer space to the deep ocean to our own brains. This hour, Manoush goes on a journey through those uncharted places, led by TED Science Curator David Biello.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#555 Coronavirus
It's everywhere, and it felt disingenuous for us here at Science for the People to avoid it, so here is our episode on Coronavirus. It's ok to give this one a skip if this isn't what you want to listen to right now. Check out the links below for other great podcasts mentioned in the intro. Host Rachelle Saunders gets us up to date on what the Coronavirus is, how it spreads, and what we know and don't know with Dr Jason Kindrachuk, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. And...
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 1: Numbers
In a recent Radiolab group huddle, with coronavirus unraveling around us, the team found themselves grappling with all the numbers connected to COVID-19. Our new found 6 foot bubbles of personal space. Three percent mortality rate (or 1, or 2, or 4). 7,000 cases (now, much much more). So in the wake of that meeting, we reflect on the onslaught of numbers - what they reveal, and what they hide.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.