According to a recent report from Alcatel-Lucent's Motive Security Labs, 16 million mobile devices worldwide have been infected with malware.

The Motive Security Labs Malware Report [PDF] also found that malware infections in mobile devices increased by 25 percent in 2014, compared to a 20 percent increase in 2013.

Mobile malware, the report states, is increasing in sophistication, with more robust command and control protocols.

Six of the top 20 mobile threats in 2014 were mobile spyware apps designed to track a device's location, monitor ingoing and outgoing calls and text messages, monitor e-mails and track the victim's Web browsing.

Infections rates for Android devices are now equal to those of Windows laptops, according to the report -- and while less than 1 percent of mobile malware infections hit iPhones and BlackBerry devices, those devices are not immune to malware.

The growth of mobile malware, according to the report, is aided by the fact that few device owners take appropriate security precautions -- 65 percent of users expect their service provider to protect their devices for them.

That's also an issue for residential networks -- the report states that malware infection rates on residential networks reached 13.6 percent in 2014, up 5 percent 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," Patrick Tan, general manager of network intelligence at Alcatel-Lucent, said in a statement. "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."

The report also found an increase in DDoS attacks using network infrastructure components such as home routers, DSL modems, cable modems, mobile Wi-Fi hotspots, DNS servers and NTP servers -- and 2014 also saw the first DDoS attacks launched from mobile phones.

Based on what the researchers saw in 2014, Motive Security Labs anticipates the following six trends for 2015:

  • Botnets move to mobile and the cloud
  • Adware becomes mainstream
  • Hacktivism goes mobile
  • Internet of Things gets hit
  • DDoS attacks continue
  • Attacks on the cloud

"We predict that in 2015 cybercrime is going to move into the cloud in a big way," the report states.

Recent eSecurity Planet articles have examined issues with Android security and the challenges of budgeting for mobile security.

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