Mobile Device Security Threats Attract Cybercriminals
CRN, By Andrew Hickey
Mobile device platforms have become the latest
and greatest attack point as mobile device security threats rose to new
heights in 2010's fourth quarter and will continue into 2011, security
According to the McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2010, a growing
number of security threats to mobile platforms are emerging as pieces of
new mobile malware increased by 46 percent from 2009 to 2010. The
report notes that as more consumers use mobile devices and tablets for
personal uses and business, cybercriminals have caught on. McAfee Labs
said it's seen a steady incline in the number of mobile device security
"The reason mobile devices have become such a big attack space is
because they're being used for so much," Adam Wosotowsky, principal
engineer at McAfee Labs, told CRN.
In the fourth quarter, the main mobile device security threats were the
high-profile SymbOS/Zitmo.A and Android/Geinimi, a Trojan inserted into
legitimate mobile apps and games on the Google (NSDQ:GOOG) Android mobile platform.
Wosotowsky said that mobile device security threats are starting to
emerge in greater numbers as cybercriminal have started finding ways to
make money off of them, whether through malicious apps, mobile
device-based e-mail phishing scams or putting spyware onto devices to
access mobile banking details or other personal information
"For a while the difficult thing to do was to make money off of mobile malware," he said.
And it appears that Google's Android mobile platform has become a prime
target, more so than its mobile OS counterparts from Apple and RIM
BlackBerry. Android has bubbled to the top because it has looser
restrictions on developing and building applications for the platform.
"In the case of Android, it's a lot easier to write an application to it," Wosotowsky said.
At the 2011 Kaspersky Americas Partner Conference
last week, Kurt Baumgartner, senior security researcher for Kaspersky
Labs said that as the mobile arena grows, exploits and spyware are being
aimed at the Android platform.
"Really clever people are trying to force spyware onto the Droid," he said.
Baumgartner said the consumerization of IT has led to users leveraging
the same device for personal and business tasks, which whets an
"Around mid-2010 was saw increased effort in exploiting software on
Android to deliver payloads," he said. "It increases the risk of users
interested in using it as a business and personal device."