A new report from Lookout Mobile Security found that mobile malware has increased significantly, with Android users two-and-a-half times as likely to encounter malware today than just six months ago.
And you aren’t even safe in app stores. During the first half of 2011, the number of unique apps with malware found on markets and download sites grew from 80 to 400 apps.
Lookout estimates that between a half million and one million users were affected by mobile malware in the first half of 2011 alone. What’s more, three out of 10 mobile users likely to click on an unsafe link, including malicious and phishing links, over the course of a year.
Here’s a disturbing example of a new theat. GGTracker is the first known Android malware that specifically targets U.S.-based Android users. This malware signs users up for premium text message subscription services without their knowledge, charging $10 per service to a person’s phone bill. In some cases users were charged for multiple services with total charges ranging up to $50.
Also be on the look out for what’s called malvertising. Attackers employ this tactic whereby they use mobile ads to direct users to a malicious Web site that triggers an automatic download of malware.
“As mobile devices grow in popularity, so do the incentives for attackers,” says Kevin Mahaffey, CTO and co-founder of Lookout Mobile Security. “We’ve seen the prevalence and the level of sophistication of mobile malware attacks evolve significantly in the first six months of 2011. We expect this trend to continue as more and more people adopt mobile devices.”
So how does your small business protect itself from these attacks? Lookout offers several suggestions:
- Only download apps from trusted sources, such as reputable app stores and download sites. Remember to look at the developer name, reviews, and star ratings.
- After clicking on a web link, pay close attention to the address to make sure it matches the Web site it claimed to be.
- Download a mobile security tool that scans every app you download for malware and spyware, and can help you locate a lost or stolen device. For extra protection, make sure your security app can also protect from unsafe Web sites.
Check out this video on how you can pick up malware on your smartphone over Wi-Fi: