11.6m mobile devices infected with malware

Networks Asia Staff
05 Feb 2014

Security threats to mobile devices continues its rapid rise, infecting at any time more than 11.6 million devices and putting their owners at increased risk, according to a report from Alcatel-Lucent.

Victims of mobile malware face risks of stolen personal and financial information, bill shock resulting from pirated data usage and extortion in exchange for device control.

Meanwhile, the security threat to home networks remained constant with traditional “fixed” malware types starting to make the jump to mobile devices.

Figures for the fourth quarter and 2013 from Alcatel-Lucent’s Kindsight subsidiary reveals that malicious software or “malware” used by hackers to gain access to devices continues to rise with consumer ultra-broadband usage. In addition to the posed risks to consumers, the malware is used to commit espionage and launch denial of service attacks on businesses and governments.

The report also found that mobile malware infections increased 20% in 2013, with 4G LTE devices being the most likely to be infected. Android devices accounted for 60% of total mobile network infections, which frequently took the form of trojanized applications downloaded from third party app stores, Google Play Store or by phishing scams.

Some 40% of mobile malware originated from Windows laptops tethered to a phone on connected directly through a mobile USB stick or MIFI hub. Infections on iPhone devices and BlackBerry devices made up less than 1%.

The mobile infection rate was 0.55% in the fourth quarter. Based on this, it is estimated that at any time over 11.6 mobile devices - mostly Android - are infected by malware. The number of mobile malware samples grew 20 times in 2013.

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