Malware On Mobile Grew 163% In 2012, Report Says
Mobile service provider NQ Mobile today released a study of malware covering 2012, using data gathered from the company’s Security Labs. It found that malware threats in general on mobile platforms grew 163 percent in 2012, totally more than 65,000 identified distinct forms of app repackaging, malicious URLs and SMS phishing (also known as smishing). The attacks were mostly geared towards Android devices, which was the platform of choice for almost 95 percent of threats identified by NQ.
Trends indicate we’ll only see more attacks, and more creative ones, according to NQ. In February, security researchers identified a new type of malware that uses an Android device as a launch platform for infecting a target computer via USB connection, the company said. That remains limited to only a few identified infected handsets, but it’s a troubling attack vector that could pose plenty of problems down the road if it becomes more sophisticated. In a release, NQ Mobile co-CEO Omar Khans said that what’s needed is a system that can detect threats in advance of infection and prevent them, something which so far hasn’t really been widely available.
NQ’s data indicates that Android is a big risk for malware, but iOS has also recently come under fire for free apps that leak more personal data than on other platforms. Overall, mobile security is likely to be a growing concern, and one that could potentially become more complicated as the pace of improvements to mobile tech increases and our usage of those devices grows higher still. For now, common sense is probably the best defense against security threats, but a more unified Android platform would help to limit malware problems as well as significantly improve developers’ lives.
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