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Security Feature

March 01, 2016

Nokia Report Finds 60 Percent of Infections in Mobile Network from Smartphones

By Andrew Bindelglass, Contributing Writer

Nokia’s (News - Alert) Threat Intelligence Lab Released research results today showing that, for the first time, smartphones are the victims of a majority of malware attacks in the mobile space. Until now, desktop computers and laptops running Windows software had sat at the top of that list, but the growing sophistication of malware targeted at mobile devices has vaulted the smartphone to the top of the list.

Whereas Windows personal computers used to be the most common targets of malware, the increased reliance on other operating systems and popularity of mobile devices has caused hackers to turn their attention elsewhere, to the point that this report found an infection rate of less than half a percent on personal computers running Windows.

On the other hand, malware attacks on mobile devices have begun to skyrocket. Phones running the Android system remain as the most targeted as of this report. However, one interesting development is that Apple’s (News - Alert) iOS, highly touted for its safety and security, has begun to make a significant showing on the malware list. In fact, six percent of the total infections in October of 2015 were iPhone (News - Alert) based. It is suspected that hackers were suddenly able to make this headway with iOS because of an Apple software development kit that was compromised.

Kevin McNamee, head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab, said: "Security is a very real concern for any device with an IP address, be it Android (News - Alert), iPhone or even a Windows PC connected to the mobile network.” In addition to phishing and adware, which can allow hackers to siphon off information about a smartphone user, there is also the spread of “ransomware,” which can encrypt data within a smartphone and then lock it, essentially holding the phone hostage until the hacker is paid. McNamee notes “We also saw a rise in a variety of ransomware apps that try to extort money by claiming to have encrypted the phone's data.”

Clearly, as hackers are turning their malicious efforts to the smartphone cybersecurity around mobile devices must be beefed up as well. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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