Malicious Mobile Threats Report [ 85% of smartphone users do not have any antivirus solution ]

The evolution of our phones into the smartphones will eventually replace our desktop PCs to a great extent. A few years back, the idea of a mobile device with a dual core processor was just a dream but now you can probably buy one off the shelf.

The growth of smartphones has been phenomenal and there are no signs of it slowing down. If you remember from the era when PCs were the primary means of enjoying any digital content, when the number of PCs grew so did the malware aimed at them.

A recent report published by the Juniper Networks Global Threat Center ( GTC ) gives us some insights into the rise of smartphone platforms and the reasons that they are such good targets for malware creators.

Here are some key findings from the report:
– Nokia’s Symbian operating system is the worlds largest mobile OS and so Symbian malware dominated the samples that GTC discovered and analyzed on a daily basis. Malware affecting Symbian devices make up for 77% of the virus definitions found in the Junos Pulse Mobile Security Suite database.

– While commercial spyware applications are nothing new to mobile security experts, the greatest malware risk to all mobile operating systems moving forward involves the rapid development, distribution, and proliferation of applications through so-called “app stores”. Installing the app from third party “app stores” does increase the chance of installing a malicious application.

– RIM Blackberry, Google Android and Apple iOS operating systems suffer predominantly from spyware applications. These applications are designed to monitor device communications, often with the capability to control the spyware remotely. Spyware capable of monitoring all forms of communication to and from mobile devices accounted for 61% of all Juniper Networks mobile customer infections.

– Spyware accounted for 100% of all infections for Android devices as reported by Juniper Customers.

– The report also indicated that 85% of smartphone users do not employ any antivirus solution on their mobile devices. Of the 15% that were using an antivirus solution, one of those five users reported having been infected by a malicious application.

malware growth

The study shows that one in 20 devices is lost or stolen. The mobility provided by these devices does increase the chance of theft or loss but security of data on lost devices is a major concern.

lost devices graph

Google’s Android is now the most targeted platform by malware publishers , as per the report. Most notable the recent android malware, DroidDream that was downloaded over 50,000 times in four days, before Google released a security update to remove the infected applications.

android malware
Android saw a 400% increase in malware applications since June 2010 untill January 2011

The domain of mobile device security is one that will have a strong impact on the survival of mobile platforms. Apple and RIM have better secured devices currently and hackers are exploiting the loop holes in Android. But the main concern remains that apps available through the official app stores of these platforms may be leaking user data to third parties while the user is unaware of this.

How concerned are you that you might be using an application that tracks the state of your device and provides that data to third parties? Let us know.

The report can be downloaded from here : http://www.juniper.net/us/en/company/press-center/press-releases/2011/pr_2011_05_10-09_00.html