Beware of Malware: Mobile Threats Increase by 614 Percent in Last Year
June 26, 2013 8:50 AM
comment(s) - last by
About 92 percent of malware is directed at Android
Keep a closer eye on your smartphones:
skyrocketed 614 percent over the past year.
According to Juniper Networks' annual Mobile Threat Report, mobile malware grew by 614 percent from March 2012 to March 2013. This equates to 276,259 troublesome apps and vulnerabilities.
The study took a look at about 1.85 million total apps and vulnerabilities in that period of time. This 614 percent was a huge hike from the mobile malware increase of only 155 percent from March 2011 to March 2012.
About 48 percent of the malware came from SMS trojans, which get users to send text messages to numbers ran by cyber thieves. Another 29 percent came from fake installs, the remaining 19 percent came from Trojan Spy malware.
There were fake versions of apps that proved to be malicious, and the top imitators were of Angry Birds, Adobe Flash, Google Play and Skype.
"There's no doubt mobility will continue to be a pervasive and disruptive force across every industry," said Troy Vennon, Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center director. "We have found that it has created an easy business opportunity for malware developers who are becoming savvy in their approach to quickly turn profits in a rapidly growing market. We anticipate that similar to the evolution of PC-based threats, mobile attacks will continue to increase and become more sophisticated in the coming years."
Juniper Networks added that
Android users are the main target
of mobile malware, mainly because Android makes up about 60 percent of the smartphone market globally. In fact, the new report says that 92 percent of malware found was directed at Android devices.
Another reason that Android is a prime target is because users rarely update to the latest software versions of the OS, meaning that they're not receiving the latest security updates from Google.
Want to stay safe out there? Run software updates on your phones and avoid buying apps from unknown app stores. The same goes for users on any other platform; not just Android.
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RE: not so
6/26/2013 3:37:08 PM
The majority of web traffic, app downloads, and mobile ad revenue (even for Google) comes from iOS. This is because it is only installed on high end smartphones and tablets. Android is the majority on the back of low cost devices that are basically glorified featurephones. The best selling high end Android devices, the GS3 and GS4, are a small fraction of Samsung's total smartphone sales and are still outsold by older iPhones.
The low end market for Android isn't really a huge factor when it comes to malware infections, given that they aren't really used for applications or the internet in the same way that real smartphones are.
The real reason for malware on Android is because users are easily able to run sketchy applications from any source rather than being limited to secure sources that vet applications for malware and maintain whitelists. Malware exists on iOS as well, but it almost all comes from sideloading apps on jailbroken devices.
RE: not so
6/26/2013 3:42:29 PM
Another reason comes down to carriers and manufacturers withholding updates. ICS in particular has massive security improvements that are required for enterprise deployment if security is in any way a concern. These are not present in earlier versions that make up nearly half of all Android installations.
RE: not so
6/27/2013 10:55:05 AM
This point is particularly compelling as when ICS was release and security improvements were made know, this also let malware designers know where the pre-ICS android versions were vulnerable. I would say it is disingenuous to compare the security of the most up to date version of one OS to non-updated versions of the others, but in an environment where people don't have access to the most up to date version it becomes a relevant concern. Google, if you don't want to be judged by older versions of your OS with know security holes, you need to take back some of the control over your update process from phone makers.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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