How mobile malware is maturing

Mobile malware has reached a new stage of maturation, according to Juniper Networks.

Top findings from Juniper’s 2011 Mobile Threats Report are evidence of accelerating attacks on mobile devices:

1. There is more malware than ever before. 2011 saw a record number of mobile malware attacks — particularly to the Google Android platform.

2. Mobile malware has gotten smarter. Cybercriminals continue to hone their craft by finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities and human behavior for profit across all mobile platforms and devices.

3. The barrier to entry is low. Data shows an evolution from sophisticated, complex and deep technical attacks to schemes that are lightweight, social and able to deliver fast profits. As mobile users download more applications than ever before, applications themselves are becoming the “killer app” for hackers and the most popular way to compromise devices.

Dan Hoffman, chief mobile security evangelist, Juniper Networks said: “The rapid growth in mobile malware combined with ongoing concerns about lost and stolen devices illustrate just how important of an issue mobile security is — and that it is an issue that affects everyone, not just corporations. At Juniper, we believe building trust in mobility is just as important as building great networks and powerful applications.”

The Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center examined more than 790,000 applications and vulnerabilities across every major mobile device operating system to inform its 2011 Mobile Threats Report.

Additional key findings Include:

  • From 2010 to 2011, the Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center identified a 155 percent increase in mobile malware across all mobile device platforms.
  • In the last seven months of 2011 alone, malware targeting the Android platform jumped 3,325 percent.
  • In 2011, spyware and SMS Trojans comprised the vast majority of malware targeting mobile devices, at 63 percent and 36 percent respectively.
  • Research into Apple iOS security remains limited given the closed nature of its platform; but in 2011, security researchers were successful in getting an unapproved application onto the Apple App Store.
  • A new attack method dubbed “Fake Installers” was the fastest growing type of malware found in 2011. Fake Installers trick victims into unknowingly paying for pirated versions of popular applications that are normally free.
  • In addition to the rising threat of malware, consumers and enterprises remain susceptible to a very low-tech risk: lost or stolen mobile devices. In the last year alone, nearly one in five users of Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite — Juniper’s comprehensive mobile device security and management solution — required a locate command to identify the whereabouts of a mobile device.

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