This story was originally published and last updated .
Earlier this year, a story madetherounds about a new kind of malware afflicting Android handsets. But it was this malware's pernicious nature that really made headlines, as it could even survive complete factory resets on afflicted phones. This insidious malware was named xHelper. At the time, we didn't know how it managed this impressive (but scary) achievement, but security researchers at Kaspersky have since dug into its inner workings, revealing an incredibly sophisticated system that installs itself to an Android phone's system partition, and even changes how the system works to prevent it from being "easily" removed.
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have identified a family of modular Android malware dubbed "Loapi," which is capable of mining the Monero cryptocurrency, inundating users with advertisements, automatically subscribing the user to paid services, and participating in DDoS attacks, among other functions. The cryptocurrency mining module maintains a load sufficiently high enough to cause physical damage to a test device after two days—the above photo shows a device which overheated to the point the battery bulged.
You might have caught the news that Opera is killing its Opera Max VPN service. That's a bummer, but there are plenty of VPN apps out there if you don't absolutely need the data compression features of Max. For example, the newly released Kaspersky Secure Connection app. It's in beta and only has limited data, but it's free.
How much would you pay for an Android security suite that may occasionally be of use? Maybe $1.99? $4.99? How about $149.00? No? Well, that's what Kaspersky Lab is currently asking for its Mobile Security app in Google Play. Got a lot of cash to burn and very little common sense? Kaspersky Tablet Security is only $199.00. What?
See, the apps for phones and tablets used to cost $4.95 and $9.95, respectively. A bit steep, but not outlandish. So does Kaspersky really think its software is worth hundreds of dollars all of a sudden? Probably not. It looks like the company tried to nudge the price upward and just missed a few keys on the keyboard.
According to Kaspersky, seller of the $10 Kaspersky antivirus app for Android, Android viruses are getting worse. Well, not really worse, just different. The latest attack vector comes in the form of malicious QR Codes. When you scan a QR code, your phone turns those funky squares into a URL. Just like any other form of URL obfuscation (eg, shorteners), that URL can go to a naughty place. Said naughty place could give you a virus.
Oh, I'm sorry, are you used to a little more hyperbole in your Android virus stories? ZDNet can help with that: "Hackers using QR codes to push Android malware ...
Kaspersky, a huge name in computer security, not only protects your home and office computers, but your Android device as well. Kaspersky Mobile Security, now in its 9th revision, is a robust app packing anti-virus, anti-malware, call blocking, and theft/loss protection into one lightweight package.
At A Glance
Kaspersky's security solution for Android comes in a relatively lightweight app, costing only 1.5MB in storage. The app's loss/theft protection relies totally on SMS commands, meaning your phone is still protected even if data is turned off. Personally, I always like to see an online interface option, because it makes using the app that much easier in case you've lost your handset and don't have someone with a cell phone handy to send commands to your device.
One of the geek community's favored anti-virus solutions on Windows, Kaspersky has recently made its move to secure the world of all things Android. Next up the company's sleeve is Kaspersky Tablet Security (clever name, right?), which brings Kaspersky's virus protection to Honeycomb (3.0 and 3.1, plus non-Honeycomb 2.1+) tablets. And it also runs on your phone, which allowed me (I am tablet-less) to take these screenshots:
Basically, it's Kaspersky Mobile Security 9 spruced up for tablets, with all the theft protection, call blocking, SMS, and other phone-specific features removed. It is kind of handy to have those superfluous features axed (except theft protection?)
Anti-virus and anti-malware products by Kaspersky Lab are known as some of the best computer protection solutions for your desktop and notebook, and today the company announced availability of Kaspersky Mobile Security for Android.
The features of Mobile Security include:
anti-theft protection (including SMS Find, Remote Block and Delete, and SIM Watch)
anti-virus protection and firewall
The app can be downloaded from Kaspersky's servers and isn't available directly from the Android Market. The cost is rather high - $29.95 per year, although it is still comparable to products like Lookout Premium.
Official press release follows:
Feb 22, 2011 10:36 ET Kaspersky Mobile Security Expands to Support Android and BlackBerry
WOBURN, MA--(Marketwire - February 22, 2011) - Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of Internet security solutions that defend against computer viruses, spyware and all forms of malicious software, now offers protection and peace-of-mind for BlackBerry and Android smartphone owners, in addition to Windows Mobile and Symbian devices.