“Alcatel-Lucent estimates that 80 percent of malware infections detected on mobile networks during the first half of 2015 have been traced to Windows-based computers.
This finding represents a significant change from 2013 and 2014 when the source of mobile network infections were roughly split equally between Android and Windows-supported devices.
Cybercriminals are quickly taking advantage of unique opportunities in the mobile ecosystem to spread spyware. In fact, 10 of the 25 most prolific threats on smartphones are in the mobile spyware category, and are often delivered bundled with games and free software.
These sophisticated spyware apps enable the remote tracking of a phone owners movements as well as the monitoring of phone calls, text messages, e-mails and browsing habits.
Adware has also been on the increase, with ads becoming more sinister. An example is BetterSurf, a moderate-threat contained within software bundles offering free applications or games. When installed, it adds a plugin to Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome browsers that injects pop-up ads into web pages. While it looks like run-of-the-mill adware, the ads themselves are very dangerous. Many are phishing attempts to install additional malware and engage in fraudulent activity.
In examining the top 25 threats to mobile devices, Alcatel-Lucent concluded that the main threats are currently:
- Spyphone apps that track calls, text messages, location, e-mail and browsing
- Scareware apps that try to extort money by claiming to have encrypted the phones data
- Identity theft apps that steal personal information from the device
- Banking Trojans that attempt to steal banking credentials and credit card numbers
- SMS Trojans that make a living by sending text messages to premium numbers
- Malicious adware that uses personal information ,without consent, to deliver annoying targeted ads.
- A proxy app allowing attackers to anonymously browse the web through an infected phone – at the owners expense.