Malware targeting of Android increased 400% since last summer
Both enterprise and consumer mobile devices are exposed to a record number of security threats, including a surge in Android malware and highly targeted Wi-Fi attacks, says a report by network infrastructure company Juniper Networks.
The global mobile threat study, "Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011", found that malware targeting the open source Android mobile platform has increased by 400% since summer 2010.
The report pinpointed apps download as the single greatest source of mobile malware, but added that majority of smartphone users do not have an antivirus software to scan their mobile device for malware.
The report was compiled by the Juniper Networks Global Threat Center (GTC) research facility. It said that cyber criminals know that smartphones are outgrowing PCs in both personal and professional computing.
It said, "Cyber criminals have turned their attention to mobile devices."
However, the report highlighted that the gap between hacker capabilities and an organisation’s defences is also widening. It underscored the need for further mobile security awareness, as well as more stringent mobile security policies.
Juniper Networks chief mobile security evangelist Dan Hoffman said, "These findings reflect a perfect storm of users who are either uneducated on or disinterested in security, downloading readily available applications from unknown and unvetted sources in the complete absence of mobile device security solutions."
The study also warned that mobile devices are increasingly vulnerable to Wi-Fi attacks, including applications that allow a hacker to access the victim’s email and social networking accounts.
The causes of the rising threat to mobile phones are because of SMS trojans, device loss and theft, and risky teen behaviour. Around 20% of all teens admit sending inappropriate or explicit material from a mobile device, said the report.
Infonetics Research Security principle analyst Jeff Wilson said, "The last 18 months have produced a non-stop barrage of newsworthy threat events, and while most had been aimed at traditional desktop computers, hackers are now setting their sights on mobile devices. Operating system consolidation and the massive and growing installed base of powerful mobile devices is tempting profit-motivated hackers to target these devices."
"In a recent survey of large businesses, we found that nearly 40 percent considered smartphones the device type posing the largest security threat now."