Mobile Malware on Rise

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 @ 09:02 AM gHale

While it surely is not a surprise as the use of mobile devices continues to grow, threats and attacks on communications networks rose last year, a new report said.

Sixteen million mobile devices worldwide suffered from malware infection, which bad guys use for various initiatives like corporate espionage, information theft, Denial of Service (DoS) attacks, and banking and advertising scams, according to Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Security Labs.

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The report also found consumers who avoid shopping online fearing their credit or debit card information may end up stolen are actually exposing themselves to greater risk: Retail cyber-security breaches. In 2014, these types of breaches were the result of malware infections on cash registers or point-of-sale terminals, not online stores. This is because stolen cards from online retailers are not as valuable to criminals because they can only use them for online purchases.

Malware infections in mobile devices increased 25 percent in 2014, compared to a 20 percent increase in 2013. Android devices have now caught up with Windows laptops, which had been the primary workhorse of cybercrime, with infection rates between Android and Windows devices split 50/50 in 2014.

While less than 1 percent of infections come from iPhone and Blackberry smartphones, new vulnerabilities emerged last year to show they are not immune to malware threats, the report said.

Malware growth continues to gain because mobile device owners do not take proper device security precautions. Another Motive Security Labs survey found 65 percent of subscribers expect their service provider to protect their mobile and home devices.

Other report highlights include:
• The mobile infection rate in 2014 is 0.68 percent. Based on this Alcatel-Lucent estimates that worldwide, about 16 million mobile devices suffer from malware infection.
• Mobile malware is increasing in sophistication with more robust command and control protocols
• Mobile spyware, used to spy on a phone’s owner, is also on the increase. It tracks the phone’s location, monitors ingoing and outgoing calls, text messages, email and tracks web browsing.

The report also noted in 2014 an increase in DDoS attacks using network infrastructure components such as home routers, DSL modems, cable modems, mobile WiFi hotspots, DNS servers and NTP servers.

Click here to view the report.

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