And the most virused phone is…

When it comes to making sure your desktop is safe from viruses you have a couple of options: Load it up to the hilt with protective software that you have to update obsessively, or opt for more secure systems such as Linux. But what about your phone? That’s totally safe right?

Think again. Incidences of Malicious Software (Malware) designed specifically to attack phones are on the rise and Android is the prime target.

New data from internet security company Kaspersky suggests that malicious programs targeting mobile devices increased 6.4 times in 2011 with a total of 5 255 new modifications and 178 new families identified throughout the year.

The company claims to have uncovered more new malicious programmes targeting mobile devices in December 2011 than over the entire 2004 – 2010 period.

Perhaps more worrying is the fact that it’s not just the frequency but also the nature of these programs that is changing.

Unsophisticated SMS Trojans are still the predominant method of attack. Their lead is, however being eroded. Their share of all mobile threats fell from 44.2% in 2010 to 36.6% in 2011.

The rising star of the mobile malware world is the Backdoor Trojan. Kaspersky reckons the surge in interest in backdoors “has been sparked by virus writers’ growing interest in the Android OS”.

It backs this up with the claim that “the overwhelming majority of detected mobile backdoors target Android smartphones”.

Some virus writers also want your personal data though — hence spyware being the third most common mobile threat behaviour. As is the case with PCs, these programs steal personal user data and/or data about the infected mobile device.

J2ME phones come second on the list of most virused devices, with Symbian and Windows Mobile taking up third and fourth spot respectively.

Interestingly 2011 also marked the first incidences of malware being spread through QR codes.

QR codes with an encrypted link lead to the same threats that other traditional URLs lead to. According to Kaspersky “Malicious QR codes are used not only by virus writers (or groups of virus writers) but are becoming more common among the infamous affiliate programmes, which will soon ensure that they become popular among cyber criminals.”

Guess we have another reason not to use QR codes then.



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