A new report, which looks at the security threat that mobile devices pose to corporate networks, has some good news and some bad news for smartphone users. More and more business smartphones are representing a convergence of personal and corporate needs. This means that corporates face the new challenge of keeping up with the proliferation of mobile devices while trying to impose some form of control with regards to malware and security.
First the good news for worried business managers (and, in fact, every smartphone user). At the moment the majority of mobile threats are still largely mischief-ware in the sense that they are used to earn money through the unauthorized sending of premium messages or by stealing potentially useful personal information. They aren't as yet overly malicious. Most mobile attacks use the classic tactics of scams, spam and phishing. These attacks work on iOS, Android and in fact any device that can receive email and access the web. From the criminals point of view these attacks are easy to deploy, but they should also be easy to spot and most users using common sense won't be affected.
However, campaigns waged against mobile devices are becoming more active. Cyber-criminals are increasingly using botnets (or malnets as the report calls them) as the backbone of their operations. In 2012 nearly two thirds of all web-based attacks employed a botnet.
Blue Coat Systems 2013 Mobile Malware Report
The report, which was published by Blue Coat Security Labs, goes on to say that the freedoms enjoyed by Android users, in that there are dozens of app markets available and a large diversity of Android powered devices, means that cyber-criminals have a greater success rate targeting Android compared to other smartphone platforms. In the July-September 2012 quarter alone, the company saw a 600 percent increase in Android malware when compared to the same period in 2011.
The best thing for Android users, both private and corporate, is to only download apps from trusted sources and stay vigilant when visiting web sites using your smartphone. If an offer is to good to be true, it normally isn't true!!! It is also worth running an anti-virus app on your phone, check out our review of the best anti-virus apps for 2013.