The Android mobile operating system was launched on 23 September 2008 and right after its launch, it became very popular among developers and smartphone companies. The main reason for Android’s popularity is the fact that it is an open-source operating system and is very easy to use.
With the advancements in Android systems, security became a major issue because Android is the most used operating system in the world with approximately 72% market share worldwide.
One of the major reasons that Android attacks become successful is that the users are totally unaware of the fact that their security has been compromised and the attacker takes full advantage of this fact. There are many types of android attacks like SMS, Rooting, Spying, Phishing Attack, and we have brought a list of the different types of Android attacks that are possible –
Table of contents
The most common mode of Android attack is through an infected APK. An attacker often tempts the users to download applications from a non-trusted, third-party platform that contains malicious software inside them. Installation of such APK in the device grants remote access of the mobile device to the attacker.
After the attacker’s APK is installed and the Android system has been compromised, it can be used to launch a variety of other attacks including a Denial of service attack or maybe even an entire system hack. Thus, it’s always suggested to download and install an APK file only from a trusted and reliable source.
Android Attacks using SMS
SMS is another popular mode of communication and is most vulnerable to attacks. Many financial payments and transactions are made through SMS. The ability to intercept such SMS payloads can grant any hacker the power to easily exploit your system, which could also result in a huge financial loss. SMS attacks involve the injection of malware designed by cybercriminals that target’s the victim’s Android device. These Trojans are designed to send unauthorized texts or make unauthorized calls without the user’s knowledge or consent.
Emails are the most popular form of communication and the most useful source for attackers to perform an Android-based attack since the users are least bothered about the security of their emails.
An attacker can use this as a gateway by sending Phishing emails that redirect the users to some malicious websites in order to compromise and retrieve critical user details.
This is also possible via SPAM emails capable of stealing information from the users. So, to prevent such attacks one must regularly clean their Spam mails and never open an unknown email.
Android Attacks using App Sandboxing issues:
Application sandboxing is a software management strategy in which applications are isolated from critical system resources and other programs to test them against various attacks.
However, it is controversial because issues in sandboxing imply that malicious applications can bypass this mechanism and exploit the Android device.
Also, its complexity can result in more security issues and bugs than the sandbox was originally designed to prevent. Hackers can also craft escaping attacks that exploit vulnerabilities in the sandbox, allowing them to escape the protective environment.
So, Rooting an Android phone is similar to jailbreaking in iOS devices and it grants the users, additional access to features and parts of the Android OS that are not available to non-root users. Rooting can surely increase the speed and performance of an Android device through software and hardware acceleration.
However, it is not a recommended practice by the Android authorities since rooting phones results in losing their warranty. It might also open a door for various malware, allowing different attackers to remotely control the device.
Spying is a common Android attacking strategy where the attacker uses applications and resources
in your device to monitor your usage and discover weak points that can be used to launch an attack
on your Android system.
Spying is mainly possible through apps that are installed from untrusted locations and often contain
spyware that directs information to the attackers.
In 2017 a spyware called SMSVova crept into Google Play Store and had over 1 million downloads. It was removed from Play Store after the security company ZScaler reported it. Spying can be prevented by using applications only available on trusted platforms.
Android Attacks using Fork bomb attack:
A fork bomb attack also is known as a wabbit or rabbit virus was crafted by some malicious hackers to
launch a denial-of-service attack on the target system.
The virus replicates itself generating a large number of useless processes that consume and
corrupt the available system resources which can cause resource starvation and ultimately, a system crash.
Fork Bomb attacks can’t be completely denied but we can prevent the Android systems
from these attacks by limiting the number of processes created and by using effective virus removal tools.
A phishing attack is a type of social engineering attack that targets stealing user data,
including login credentials and bank card details. In a phishing attack, an attacker hides in the
form of a trusted entity luring a victim into opening an email, instant message, or text message that is designed to retrieve the user’s information without his/her knowledge.
Nowadays these attacks have changed their form according to Android platforms
and they are tricking users into accepting new phone settings which are then exploited by the user.
A smudge attack is a method to retrieve the password pattern of a touchscreen Android device
such as a cell phone or tablet computer. The method was investigated and discovered by a team of researchers
at the University of Pennsylvania and they reported about it at the 4th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies.
The attackers can forensically retrieve the smudge of finger-oil residue left by the user on the
device screen which can help them to deduce the unlock pattern. Using a Split pattern, Random PIN lock, and Temporal lock can reduce and even prevent a smudge attack.
Droid Dream is a type of malware attack that appeared in 2011. This Trojan gets root access to Google Android mobile devices to access unique identification information for the phone.
Once compromised, a Droid Dream-infected Android device can also be used to download
additional malicious programs without the user’s knowledge open up the phone to be controlled by hackers.
Droid Dream got its name from the fact that it was designed to run between 11 pm and 8 am when
users were most likely to be asleep and their phones less likely to be in use.
Thus, having a knowledge of the different types of Android attacks can save you
from becoming a victim of one of them or even allow you to prevent your colleagues from falling into these traps keeping their Android devices safe and secure.