Mobile Device Infections Surged by 96 Percent in First Half of 2016


According to the Nokia Threat Intelligence Report - H1 2016, smartphone infections rose by 96 percent between January and July 2016 compared to the latter half of 2015, with smartphones accounting for 78 percent of all mobile network infections.

The mobile infection rate hit a peak in April, when infections hit 1.06 percent of all mobile devices tracked. Android devices were the most targeted, representing 74 percent of all mobile malware infections, compared to Windows (22 percent) and other platforms, including iOS (4 percent).

The total number of infected Android apps in Nokia's malware database grew by 75 percent from 5.1 million in December 2015 to 8.9 million in July 2016. The top three mobile threats were Uapush.A, Kasandra.B and SMSTracker, which together accounted for 47 percent of all infections.

"Today attackers are targeting a broader range of applications and platforms, including popular mobile games and new IoT devices, and developing more sophisticated and destructive forms of malware," Kevin McNamee, head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab, said in a statement.

Apps accessing data

A separate IDT911 survey of 2,014 U.S. consumers found that one in five respondents said they're now much less likely to give mobile apps access to their personal data following the news that the Pokemon Go accessed basic information from users' Google accounts.

Still, 34 percent of millennials said they aren't worried about giving mobile apps access to personal data.

"Every time a data-seeking app goes into craze phase, and invariably privacy and security issues bubble to the surface, it provides us with a critical opportunity to educate mobile users on how to best protect themselves and avoid being the ones caught," IDT911 chairman and founder Adam Levin told eSecurity Planet by email.

Mobile compliance

Separately, a Smarsh survey of 221 people supervising compliance for financial services firms found that almost 70 percent of firms that allow the use of mobile/text messaging don't have any retention or archiving solutions in place to cover those forms of communication.

"Despite the ubiquitous nature of text messaging, this communication channel presents the largest compliance gap," the report states.

"Firms have an immediate need to rethink their traditional approach to the retention and oversight of electronic communications, especially as they aim to demonstrate a culture of compliance," Smarsh CEO and founder Stephen Marsh said in a statement. "Our data illustrates that too many firms are not retaining and supervising different types of electronic communication, and not performing systematic supervision as regularly as necessary."

A recent eSecurity Planet article looked at the 10 trickiest mobile security threats.