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16 million mobile devices infected by malware in 2014 – report

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A report by Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Security Labs (formerly Kindsight Security Labs) has estimated some 16 million mobile devices globally were infected by malware in 2014, with network attacks also on the rise putting both personal and business data at risk.

According to the report’s findings, mobile viruses increased by 25% last year compared to 20% year-on-year increase in 2013. The report said the current mobile infection rate is 0.68%, which is what the researchers based on the estimated total figure of infected devices.

The most common types of malware include spyware that tracks calls, texts, emails and browsing activities, as well as high-level threats such as ‘bots’, ‘rootkits’, and banking ‘Trojans’. Steady with previous years, around 5% of devices have been affected by a high-level threat.

Android devices are now just as likely to be infected as Windows laptops, which according to Alcatel-Lucent have been the primary target of cybercrime until now. The report also said avoiding online payments altogether is not the answer as even cash registers and point-of-sale terminals are targeted.

Apparently six out 20 mobile threats are spy-phone apps, while 14% of homes are infected with malicious software. The rate of monthly home broadband infection jumped 5% from 9% in 2013 to just under 14% this year. The report attributed this largely to growth in moderate threat-level adware infections.

Malware continues to be on the rise as users don’t take steps to protect their devices, the report said. Indeed, according to another recent report by Motive Security Labs, 65% of subscribers expect their service provider to protect them from security threats instead.

“With malware attacks on devices steadily rising with consumer ultra-broadband usage, the impact on customer experience becomes a primary concern for service providers,” Patrick Tan, General Manager of Network Intelligence at Alcatel-Lucent said.

“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.”

Last year also saw an increase in what the report called innovative DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. This resonates with another report published by Arbor Networks, which claimed DDoS attacks are not only on the rise but also much bigger in size than in the past.


2 comments

  1. Geoff Greig 21/02/2015 @ 7:57 am

    Rather than just writing about a report produced by an organisation thats primary motivation is producing information to promote the product they sell, why dont you do some research into scientific pear reviewed articles that do good research on malware.

  2. Scott Bicheno Scott Bicheno 23/02/2015 @ 9:21 am

    Thanks Geoff, we’ll give it a go, although I imagine articles that have been reviewed by scientific pears will be thin on the ground.

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