|How did Android beat the biggest robots you've never heard of before|
How did Android beat the biggest robots you've never heard of before
Speaking this week at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Singapore, Android security engineer Madi Stone shed new light on the years-long battle between Google's mobile operating system and bad malware known as Chamois.
Chamois, which has reached a peak of nearly 21 million Android devices, is incredibly sophisticated and dangerous, as users of cash and information bleed without realizing it.
The battle to stop its spread has brought new Android security features, and after nearly three years, Google has finally got the upper hand.
In any discussion between iOS and Android fans, security must come sooner or later.
Apple's "walled garden" style is excellent in preventing many malware and bad tricks from sneaking into its mobile operating system, but it's also very strict.
Android is more open, better and worse.
There are a lot of things you're not allowed to do on iOS that you can easily do with your Android device.
The downside is that with more freedom comes more ways for bad actors to exploit potential weaknesses by using cleverly disguised applications.
This is exactly how Chamois got its foothold on the Android system in 2016, and as Google started to go on, new versions of Chamois began to spread across millions and millions of devices.
In 2017, Google thought it had won the battle, declaring that Chamoah had been beaten.
However, malware developers were listening, and soon developed a new version of Chamois, which began to spread in early 2018.
The fourth version followed shortly thereafter, and by March 2018 about 20.8 million devices had been infected.
Malware received commands from "command-and-control" servers, turning millions of Android devices into robots to trick users into ads and tricks.
Malware is distributed in several ways, either within apps or through legitimate advertising services.
According to Stone, Google has discovered more than 27,000 different application packages containing Chamois.
Slowly but surely, the Android Security Team started to make gains, then corrected exploits, and then corrected the new exploits that the Chamois developers used as backups.
Google Play Protect, which monitors apps, malware, and other bad surprises, is more effective at detecting chamois than ever before, and the number of devices in the Chamois network is down by 91 per cent.
Stone says the team is in "maintenance and monitoring" mode, following the new versions of Chamois as it continues to dispose of the remaining infected devices.
To proceed, it would be interesting to know whether the Chamois makes a return or if Google has won the battle and the war.