A new report indicates that the current malware infection rate for mobile devices is 0.68 percent, leading researchers to believe that at least 16 million devices were infected with malware at the end of 2014.
Published by the Motive Security Labs division of the French telecommunications equipment company Alcatel-Lucent, the report found that mobile malware is growing more sophisticated each year, with infection rates increasing by 25 percent last year, compared to just 20 percent in 2013.
One of the report’s key findings is the rise of spyware, malicious software that tracks a device’s physical location as well as logs text messages, web browsing, and app usage. Spyware poses a serious risk to mobile devices everywhere, but this threat is amplified for users who have either enabled mobile payment systems such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet on their devices or registered their mobile under a corporate bring your own device (BYOD) policy.
The report also found that a majority of malware infections following a series of high-profile retail breaches in 2014 occurred as a result of compromised in-store point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and not hacks of online stores. Researchers at Motive Security Labs believe this is so because attackers can use stolen credit card numbers entered online only for web purchases, which limits their utility.
These and other trends, which the researchers admit are likely conservative due to their limited access to data in Russia and China, are facilitated by a lack of security awareness on the part of the user. Indeed, according to a recent survey by Motive Security Labs, a majority (65%) of users believes that it is up to the service provider to protect their information.
To protect against mobile malware, it is recommended that users download apps only from trusted sources and read each pre-installation permission request carefully.
For more tips on how to protect your device, please click here.