Feature Article

March 07, 2016

Smartphones Now Account for 60 Percent of Malware on Mobile Nets says Nokia Report

Smartphones. They’re everywhere.

That’s obviously because they’re a great way to stay in touch, get some work done, enjoy media, and access information.

But their ubiquity comes with at least one downside. That is, as Nokia recently pointed out, that “smartphones are the perfect platform for corporate and personal espionage, information theft, denial of services attacks on businesses and governments, and banking and advertising scams.”

Indeed, smartphones now account for 60 percent of infections in the mobile network, with Android devices being the hardest hit, says Nokia, which recently released a report on the matter.

The 2015 Nokia Threat Intelligence Report, which monitored more than 100 million devices, also found some good news. That is that infection rates on mobile networks were down in the second half of last year, declining from 0.75 to 0.49 percent. That was attributed to the decrease in adware.

However, as you might expect in a report on security, most of the data unearthed was of a rather unpleasant – some might even say alarming – nature.

For example, for the first time since Alcatel-Lucent, which is now owned by Nokia, issued a report of this nature, iOS-based malware including FlexiSpy and XcodeGhost made the top 20 list. To give you a flavor as to why, we can tell you that such iPhone malware represented 6 percent of total infections in October of last year. Here’s how this kind of thing works: XcodeGhost malware made its way into apps via a compromised software development kit Chinese developers were using to create legitimate applications sold through the App Store, which has since removed said app.

Elsewhere on the smartphone frontier, Android devices have fallen victim to ransomware like CryptoLocker, which first reared its ugly head in the Windows PC world. This kind of malware encrypts and locks data so smartphone users can’t access it without paying the hacker a fee.

Thanks to its unique network view of traffic Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab (formerly Motive Security Labs) can detect for network operators a myriad of threats.  These include, along with mobility threats, Internet threats detected on home networks

Edited by Peter Bernstein

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