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MichaelCallahan

Four Key Takeaways from Juniper’s New Mobile Threat Center Report

by Juniper Employee ‎06-25-2013 09:28 PM - edited ‎06-25-2013 09:28 PM

It probably doesn’t come as any great surprise, but according to Juniper’s third annual Mobile Threats Report, mobile malware is on the rise. But what might be surprising is the rate of acceleration and increasing focus by attackers on turning a profit. Between March 2012 and March 2013, the total amount of mobile malware grew 614 percent—and no, I didn’t miss a decimal point. Further, developments in the threat landscape point to malware professionals increasingly behaving like calculated business professionals when devising attacks.

 

If we take a closer look at the threat landscape, there are four interesting trends.Juniper_Malware_Infobite300.jpg

 

  1. Android devices are increasingly a target. As the Android platform becomes more popular so, too, does Android malware.  As a percentage of all attacks, Android attacks have risen from 24 percent in 2010 to 92 percent in 2013. It may be surprising that this focus is not due to a large number of vulnerabilities in the underlying platforms. In fact, a recent report found that Apple’s iOS had many more reported vulnerabilities. Android remains a target in large part because of its dominant market share and open app ecosystem.

  2. Malware is getting easier to distribute. The MTC identified more than 500 third-party “alternative” app stores globally where our researchers found mobile malware. In many markets, these alternative app stores are very popular places to download apps. They are also quite popular for device users who “jailbreak” or root their phones, and are looking for pirated or unsanctioned apps. Of these alternative app stores, three out of five are in China or Russia—markets infamous for malware.

  3. It doesn’t take sophistication to turn a quick and easy profit. Nearly 73 percent of malware are Fake Installers or SMS Trojans, which exploit holes in the nascent mobile payment systems. These threats either trick users or secretly send text messages to premium numbers set up by attackers to turn a quick profit. MTC researcher Troy Vennon details this threat here.

  4. Privacy Remains a Concern with Legitimate Apps. As we blogged about late last year, the MTC is also studying the privacy of legitimate mobile applications. Specifically, the types of permissions users are required to give to apps in order to install them. Building on that research, what we found was an increase in the number of permissions required with free applications much more likely to ask for large amounts of information. 

For more details on findings and predictions, read the full report (registration required). 

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