We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Android Trojan copies PC drive-by malware attack

Automated attack start of a new era

Researchers have noticed one of the first examples of Android 'drive-by' malware from an ordinary website, a dangerous type of automatic attack more commonly used to infect Windows PCs.

Discovered by security company Lookout Mobile Security on a number of webistes, the decidedly odd 'NotCompatible' Trojan is distributed using a web page containing a hidden iFrame.

Any Android browser visiting an affected page (the attack ignores PC browsers) will automatically start downloading the malware without the user being aware that this has happened,

This isn't quite a PC drive-by attack because the user still needs to install the app, at which point it relies on the user having ticked the 'Unknown Sources' box (in most cases this box would be unticked) that allows non-market apps to be installed.

The rough equivalent of this layer on a Vista or Windows 7 PC would be the User Access Control (UAC) which is usually circumvented using social engineering or by misrepresenting the nature of the application.

NotCompatible eschews such tricks beyond simply claiming to be a security update. It's not sophisticated but it might fool some users, some of the time.

The purpose of the infection is a bit of a mystery.

"This specific sample, while relatively well constructed, does not appear to go to great lengths to hide its intended purpose: it can be used to access private networks," said Lookout's blog.

"This feature in itself could be significant for system IT administrators: a device infected with NotCompatible could potentially be used to gain access to normally protected information or systems, such as those maintained by enterprise or government."

The affected sites appeared to have low volumes of traffic but the company believed the exploit iFrame was being served on other sites it had yet to identify, it said.

The warning is stark; mobile malware creators are experimenting with what is possible for this class of malware and have found a way to get mobile malware on to devices without them having to visit third-party app sites as has been the case up to now.


IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model