Android threats grow as attackers follow the money

Mobile malware is growing into a profitable business according to the latest Mobile Threats Report from Juniper Networks. Not only is mobile malware growing at a rapid rate its writers are behaving in an increasingly businesslike way when planning their attacks and distribution strategies.

Of the malware detected by Juniper's Mobile Threat Center, 92 percent is aimed at Android thanks to its large share of the market. This is a massive increase over the 24 percent Android accounted for in 2010. Attackers are also seeking to streamline their distribution by using loosely-regulated, third-party app stores. Some three out of five of these originate in China or Russia.

Almost three-quarters of mobile malware is in the form of fake installers or SMS Trojans, these look to make a fast profit -- by tricking people into texting premium rate numbers for example. More sophisticated attackers are creating botnets and targeted attacks aimed at accessing data on corporate networks.

Juniper also found that a number of legitimate free apps run the risk of leaking corporate data from devices. The number of free apps requesting or gaining access to account information has almost doubled between October 2012 and May 2013.

Troy Vennon, director of the the Mobile Threat Center says, "There's no doubt mobility will continue to be a pervasive and disruptive force across every industry. We have found that it has created an easy business opportunity for malware developers who are becoming savvy in their approach to quickly turn profits in a rapidly growing market. We anticipate that similar to the evolution of PC-based threats, mobile attacks will continue to increase and become more sophisticated in the coming years".

Juniper reckons that 77 percent of Android threats would be eliminated if all devices were running the latest version of the operating system but currently only four percent do. You can read more about the findings on the Juniper website.

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