The Motive Security Labs report – which looked at all popular mobile device platforms – found that such malware infections in mobile devices increased 25% in 2014, compared to a 20% increase in 2013. Android™ devices have now caught up with Windows™ laptops, which had been the primary workhorse of cybercrime, with infection rates between Android and Windows devices split 50/50 in 2014. While less than 1% of infections come from iPhone® and Blackberry® smartphones, new vulnerabilities emerged last year to show they are not immune to malware threats.
Malware growth continues to be aided by the fact that a vast majority of mobile device owners do not take proper device security precautions. A recent Motive Security Labs survey found that 65% of subscribers instead expect their service provider to protect both their mobile and home devices. Motive’s malware report concluded that infection rates in residential networks also rose significantly in 2014, with malware found in 13.6% of residences, an increase of 5% over the previous year.
“With malware attacks on devices steadily rising with consumer ultra-broadband usage, the impact on customer experience becomes a primary concern for service providers,” said Patrick Tan, General Manager of Network Intelligence at Alcatel-Lucent. “As a result, we’re seeing more operators take a proactive approach to this problem by providing services that alert subscribers to malware on their devices along with self-help instructions for removing it.”
Other Motive Security Lab report highlights include:
The mobile infection rate in 2014 is 0.68%. Based on this Alcatel-Lucent estimates that worldwide, about 16 million mobile devices are infected by malware.
Mobile malware is increasing in sophistication with more robust command and control protocols
Mobile spyware, used to spy on a phone’s owner, is also on the increase. It tracks the phone’s location, monitors ingoing and outgoing calls, text messages, e-mail and tracks web browsing.
The overall monthly infection rate in residential fixed broadband networks is just under 14%. This is up substantially from the 9% seen in 2013. This is mostly attributable to an increase in infections by moderate threat level adware.
High-level threats such as ‘bots’, ‘rootkits’, and ‘banking trojans’ remain steady at around 5%.