Malicious Mobile Programs On the Rise: Study

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 03, 2015


Malicious mobile elements are on the rise, having seen over a three-fold increase since the first quarter and a 10.8% increase from Q2. Kaspersky Lab’s IT Threat Evolution report for the third quarter of 2015 found that 323,374 new malicious mobile programs were detected. That’s in addition to 1.6 million malicious installation packages, and 2,516 mobile banker trojans. On the other hand, SMS trojans decreased, accounting for only 6.2% of mobile threats during the quarter.

Kaspersky found that during the quarter, displaying intrusive advertisements to consumers remained the main method of profiting from mobile threats. So, mobile adware continued to increase and accounted for more than half of all detected mobile threats. Some of these mobile attack methods are using root access to conceal their presence in the systems folder making it very difficult to combat them.

The report also found that there were 5.68 million notifications about attempted malware infections to steal money from users via online access to bank accounts. This trend has slightly decreased from the previous quarter, which showed 5.9 million notifications, the report said.

Another research by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International in October this year showed that in the last 12 months, 25% internet users had at least one of their online accounts hacked, leading to unauthorized messages being sent out in the user’s name, sometimes with a malicious link included, and the loss or theft of personal data. Despite this, just 38% of consumers create strong passwords for every account and over half (57%) store passwords insecurely, showed Kaspersky Lab’s ‘cyber-savvy’ quiz.

The kind of accounts targeted by hackers include email (11%), social media networks (11%), and online banking or shopping accounts (7%), sites that many consumers use on a daily basis and that keep them in touch with work and their closest friends and family.

The survey found that it’s not just bank balances but relationships that can be damaged by hackers. The study showed that 35% of those affected by hacking discovered that messages or updates had been sent from or posted on their accounts without their permission; and 29% learned that friends had clicked on a malicious link in a message that apparently came from them.

Personal data and identities are a top target for hackers. Twenty six percent of those affected lost personal details and data and in 26% of cases data was stolen and later used in criminal activity such as unauthorized transactions. In fact, 36% of all respondents had encountered some kind of identity threat over the previous 12 months, mostly involving an unsolicited message and a request for personal information, passwords and other credentials.