Mobile Malware up 77% in ‘14

Monday, January 19, 2015 @ 01:01 PM gHale

Malware attacks jumped 75 percent for mobile users this past year compared to 2013, a new report said.

In addition, the mobile malware encounter rate was 7 percent last year, up from 4 percent in 2013, largely due to the proliferation of new ransomware campaigns such as ScarePakage.

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“We were expecting an increase, but not of this magnitude,” said Aaron Cockerill, vice president of enterprise products at San Francisco-based mobile security firm Lookout, Inc.

And the threats aren’t just more common. They are also far more sophisticated and increasingly dangerous from an enterprise perspective, he said.

“We’ve seen a significant increase in both the frequency and sophistication of attacks that would truly represent a concern for the enterprise, like exploits that would let the bad guys get access to corporate networks,” he said. “We also saw a greater prevalence and sophistication of applications that enable rooting or jail breaking the device.”

For enterprises in particular, the top security threats associated with mobile devices are loss of sensitive data and illicit access to corporate networks.

“The threats that we found targeted both of these issues,” Cockerill said.

The report, based on aggregated data from Lookout’s over 60 million global users, also said more than 4 million Android users in the U.S. encountered ransomware, with some victims forced to pay as much as $500 to unlock their devices.

Malware typically gets onto devices through drive-by downloads from infected websites, and through malicious links in spam emails, said Jeremy Linden, the company’s senior security product manager.

For the most part, the infections target Android devices. The Apple iOS platform is less attractive to malware writers because of the curated app store and walled garden architecture.

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