Android Catches Up to Windows in Infection Rates


Alcatel-Lucent’s security division, Motive Security Labs, has recently reported a 25% increase in mobile infection rates during 2014. The report estimates that 16 million mobile devices have been infected by malware worldwide, but perhaps the most concerning statistic is that Android devices have now caught up with Windows laptops, with infection rates between the two split 50/50 in 2014.

infected device types chart

The report notes that the big increase in mobile infections is aided by the fact that a vast majority of mobile device owners do not take proper security precautions, relying on service providers to protect their mobile devices instead.

It also notes that cybercriminals are quick to take advantage of opportunities which are unique to the mobile ecosystem, with 6 of the top 20 most prevalent infections falling into the mobile spyware category. These are apps that are used to spy on the phone’s owner, tracking location as well as monitoring calls and text messages – functions unique to the mobile environment.

malware statistics

Motive Security Labs report highlights include:

  • The mobile infection rate in 2014 is 0.68%. Based on this Alcatel-Lucent estimates that worldwide, about 16 million mobile devices are infected by malware.
  • Mobile malware is increasing in sophistication with more robust command and control protocols
  • Mobile spyware, used to spy on a phone’s owner, is also on the increase. It tracks the phone’s location, monitors ingoing and outgoing calls, text messages, e-mail and tracks web browsing.
  • The overall monthly infection rate in residential fixed broadband networks is just under 14%. This is up substantially from the 9% seen in 2013. This is mostly attributable to an increase in infections by moderate threat level adware.
  • High-level threats such as ‘bots’, ‘rootkits’, and ‘banking trojans’ remain steady at around 5%.

The report also includes the following predictions for 2015 (based on 2104 trends):

  • Botnets move to mobile and the cloud
  • Hactivism goes mobile
  • Internet of things get hit
  • Attacks on the cloud

The report plainly shows that, in this day and age, mobile device users need to be much more security conscious. While most PC users would not think of connecting to the net without some kind of antivirus software installed, unfortunately that is not the case with mobile device users.


 

About the Author

Jim Hillier

Jim is the resident freeware aficionado at DCT. A computer veteran with 30+ years experience who first started writing about computers and tech back in the days when freeware was actually free. His first computer was a TRS-80 in the 1980s, he progressed through the Commodore series of computers before moving to PCs in the 1990s. Now retired (aka an old geezer), Jim retains his passion for all things tech and still enjoys building and repairing computers for a select clientele... as well as writing for DCT, of course.

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