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Mobile malware up by third in 2010

Malware targeting mobile devices grew by one third over last year

Mobile malware up by third in 2010
Malware attacks on mobiles are rising due to open platforms and increased penetration of the devices.

Malware targeted at mobile platforms grew by one third in 2010, according to AdaptiveMobile.

The mobile security company said that the rise was due to the increasing proliferation of smart phones and the increase in open mobile platforms. Mobile devices are increasingly becoming a lucrative target for cybercriminals, to monetary, privacy or data loss.

AdaptiveMobile said that the greatest increase in mobile malware was seen in exploits aimed at Android devices, which saw a four-fold increase, although the total number of Android exploits is lower than those for other platforms.

Malware targeting Java-based applications was up 45% from 2009, while WinCE attacks were up 7%. Both iPhone and Symbian-targeted attacks fell.

"With the increasing pervasiveness of Smartphone devices, 2010 has undoubtedly been the year that fraudsters have truly turned their attention to mobile platforms," said Gareth Maclachlan, chief operating officer, AdaptiveMobile. "The vast majority of consumers are acutely aware of the threats that PC-based viruses, spam messages and phishing emails pose, but many are still unaware of the risks associated with their mobile devices.

"With Smartphone penetration reported to reach 37% in Europe and 44% in the US by 2012, we predict that the number of threats targeted at unsuspecting mobile users will continue to increase at an exponential rate throughout the course of 2011. Even more significantly, the nature of the threats we are seeing will increase in sophistication. Whereas the majority of existing threats target either SMS, voice, email or web, the next year will see the emergence of the ‘compound threat' - intelligent scams designed to exploit multiple phone capabilities in order to reap maximum reward for the criminals, before the user even realises they have become a victim.

Mclachlan concludes: "This trend towards more sophisticated attacks is set to shake up the telecoms and security markets as traditional approaches to protecting subscribers can simply no longer provide adequate protection. As these compound threats continue to emerge, so does the need for an intelligent approach to mobile security - keeping the industry one step ahead of the criminals to ensure that such threats do not reach mobile users in the first place."

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