Security company suggests malware threat could increase over the next 12 months.
The threat of mobile viruses could be set to increase significantly in 2013, Cambridge-based security firm Trend Micro has warned.
According to Trend Micro, the third quarter of 2012 saw malware targeting Android grow from approximately 30,000 “malicious” applications to over 175,000.
One of the major concerns mooted by the security firm is the ability of viruses to put consumers’ finances at risk by accessing information from banking apps, while the risk to customers’ private data in general is also a serious issue.
Rik Ferguson, director of security research at Trend Micro, believes that the key problem facing mobile users in the UK is a lack of awareness, with many failing to fully address the threat posed to their device. “In terms of mobile malware, what we’ve seen in 2011 and 2012 is a period of experimentation,” he commented. “We haven’t seen a mobile malware ‘tool kit’ as we’ve seen on PCs. But I think we will begin to see it on mobile.
“I think we will see the establishment of a leading kind of banking malware tool. And a leading kind of information theft toll, which will be commoditised and for sale on the underground market. Criminals will be adding plug-ins and additional functionality but the tool kit will be the root.”
Furthermore, Ferguson believes that ‘Black Hole’ exploit kits – the biggest threat to computer security - are currently amassing data on mobile OS’. “We will soon see the first exploit kits capable of targeting mobile devices, where your phone can be infected just by accessing a web page,” he said. “When that happens it will be a game changer, as criminals break out of the need to go through the app store – Apple will be targeted.
“Functionally, technologically, we have got what we need from a security point of view but the places where we need to see change and advancement is from smartphone operating system manufacturers, namely Google, Apple, Microsoft and RIM, they need to make sure they partner more closely with the security industry in general to make their operating system more securable.”