2012: A Year of Mobile Threats

Posted: December 27, 2011 in Mobile
Tags: , ,

2011 witnessed convoluted malware attacks in the mobile field. The end of 2011 is showing a 4 percent increase in the mobile attacks compared to the first quarter. Adding to it, the global yearly likelihood of an android user clicking on a malicious link reached to a 36 percent according to a report by Lookout Mobile Security. The trend is not going to end as 2012 is predicted to be the year of mobile malware.

The android world keeps on evolving; so are the malwares. The malware developers took an estimated $1 million from android users this year and are planning on looting more. The smart phones are most vulnerable targets as they are rich in applications and data, are tied to the payment processing services, and usually have less security compared to the PC’s.

The expected threats will be on various levels like SMS/Fraud calls, mobile botnets, and vulnerable smart devices. The SMS malware raises primary threat as they are the easiest tie into a transaction infrastructure. Google has removed 22 applications from the android market last month as they are found to charge customers by sending and receiving messages on their behalf. Botnets include a connection of infected mobiles which have the capacity of infecting other phones. 10 families of botnets were discovered in the late 2011 and the number is expected to increase in the coming year. Also security holes in the numerous smart phones will be a driving factor.

The threats are building up as there are new ways of speeding up the process to save the time and money of a malware writer. One process is “Automated repackaging” where the repackaged, infected versions of applications are released into the third party markets. “Malvertising” is another process where a genuine looking advertisement will lead the user to a fraudulent site. The PC based attacks like fraudulent websites, e-mails are also finding their way into the android market as the number of users accessing the internet from smart devices is going to touch a whole time high.

The applications which are more likely to come up with threats are games, utility and porn. So the mobile users are warned to take extreme precautions while downloading the vast applications available in the third party markets as they may be stepping into a trap, unknowingly.

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