Mobile Malware Predicted to Trump All 2014 Malware Attacks

January 8, 2014

The volume of malware targeting smartphones and tablets reached new highs in 2013 and this growth shows no sign of slowing. McAfee Labs researchers predict mobile device attacks will dominate security threats in 2014. Nearly exclusive to the Android platform, new mobile malware has popped up at a faster rate than malware targeting PCs, and new malware samples on the Android OS have grown by 33% in just the past two quarters, while PC malware remained relatively flat.

McAfee Labs anticipates that not only will the rate of mobile malware attacks skyrocket on Android devices in 2014, but the types of attacks will also begin to take a more sophisticated form and become increasingly difficult to detect. The first generation of ransomware attacks on mobile devices is also expected, which will encrypt the device’s data and hold it for ransom until the device owner pays a fee. Criminals will ensure that the fees either consist of a conventional currency payment or virtual currency before the victim’s information is restored.

Enterprise leaders also need to be aware that mobile threats could have a significant impact on their business. As businesses and organizations continue to shift to mobile device-centric environments and encourage a bring-your-own-device atmosphere in offices, researchers expect attacks of near-field communications vulnerabilities and attacks that can infiltrate and pull personal data from apps — all while avoiding detection. Since not all mobile security leaves devices fully protected, users who have unknowingly downloaded malicious apps can quickly and easily transfer those threats to their company servers when they bring their devices to work. Any threat that enters the corporate security framework could have access to confidential data, thus placing it at risk. To ensure the safety of your company’s data, it is imperative to create device-management policies as preventative measures.