Mobile phone and tablet users are being warned to take better precautions to protect their devices against viruses, spyware and other malware.
The warning comes in the wake of a new report which shows a massive increase in mobile malware … at a rate of 614% in the 12 months to March 2013.
Juniper Networks' third annual Mobile Threat Report says that the increase represents the equivalent of over 275,000 malicious apps, and compares with an increase of 'just' 155% in the previous 12 month period. It is based on an
analysis of more than 1.85 million mobile apps and vulnerabilities across major mobile operating systems.
The report says it is clear that cybercriminals are becoming more enterprising and calculated, tending to target the most popular mobile platform (Android) rather than trying to break into every system. Android enjoys more than 60% mobile market share worldwide, compared with Apple at just over 19% and Microsoft with 18% (source: Canalys). 92% of all detected mobile malware is targeted at Android, says Juniper.
Another reason for the prevalence of malware on Android devices is that users of the platform are, in general, very poor at updating their devices to the latest version of the software. As of this month only 4% of users were running the latest operating system, missing out on essential new security updates.
Where the attacks come from
The majority (48%) of mobile malware attacks are delilvered via SMS Trojans, which fool users into sending text messages to numbers set up by cybercriminals, whilst 29% are via fake installs and 19% come from Trojan Spy malware, says Juniper. The apps most faked are Google Play, Skype, Adobe Flash and Angry Birds.