According to Juniper’s third annual Mobile Threats Report, mobile malware is on the rise and Android is the chief culprit. Some may point to the fact that this because of its large market share, while others might point to the open system.
The report highlights that between March 2012 and March 2013, the total amount of mobile malware grew 614 percent with Android responsible for 92 percent of all mobile malware. Wow!
The key highlights from the report are:
- Android devices are increasingly a target. As the Android platform becomes more popular so, too, does Android malware. As a percentage of all attacks, Android attacks have risen from 24 percent in 2010 to 92 percent in 2013.
- Malware is getting easier to distribute. The Juniper’s Mobile Threat Center (MTC) identified more than 500 third-party “alternative” app stores globally where our researchers found mobile malware. In many markets, these alternative app stores are very popular places to download apps. They are also quite popular for device users who “jailbreak” or root their phones, and are looking for pirated or unsanctioned apps. Of these alternative app stores, three out of five are in China or Russia—markets infamous for malware.
- It doesn’t take sophistication to turn a quick and easy profit. Nearly 73 percent of malware are Fake Installers or SMS Trojans, which exploit holes in the nascent mobile payment systems. These threats either trick users or secretly send text messages to premium numbers set up by attackers to turn a quick profit.
- Privacy Remains a Concern with Legitimate Apps. MTC is also studying the privacy of legitimate mobile applications. Specifically, the types of permissions users are required to give to apps in order to install them. Building on that research, what we found was an increase in the number of permissions required with free applications much more likely to ask for large amounts of information.
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