Mobile malware threats made a significant jump in just three months time, according to a new survey that found that malware is concentrated on the most popular mobile operating system, Android. In the age of bring-your-own-device (BYOD) work models, midsize firms are doing their best to keep their data safe against increasing malware incidents.
The survey, F-Secure’s Mobile Threat Report, featured in Computer Weekly, found that the number of mobile malware threat families rose 26 percent from the second to the third quarter of 2013. The findings are based on Android Play Store, Apple App Store, third-party app markets and data from mobile security customers. It found that the Android platform was the target of 97 percent of threats, followed by Symbian. The numbers correlate with the fact that Android holds nearly 80 percent total market share for all mobiles and tablets worldwide. Furthermore, the findings showed that BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone platforms did not have any malware findings.
The survey found that threats often had a profit motive when cyber criminals sent premium-rate SMS messages from infected mobiles without the user knowing. Additionally, the survey found that one in five threats is a bot, proving that Android malware is increasing in complexity. Due to increased security measures, fewer threats are appearing in the Google Play Store itself.
F-Secure’s latest findings relate to a growing trend among midsize firms everywhere: BYOD. Many companies are reaping the benefits of BYOD. With limited time, budgets and resources, midsize firms are constantly seeking more productive ways to work and to remain competitive. BYOD has proven to have its plus points to help them achieve those goals. For example, employees are enjoying a better work-life balance and can be productive on the company network at any time, anywhere in the world. More productive and happier employees lead to a more productive company.
The downside, however, for any BYOD firm is having to meet the challenge of security to ensure that corporate data and information is as safe as possible. The very nature of BYOD makes security policies necessary, especially at midsize firms, which cannot afford the consequences of a security breach. A BYOD framework that covers device security, network security and related policies can help protect corporate data. Additionally, companies can explore mobile device management policies, and IT professionals should consider partnering with trusted and knowledgeable security vendors to help them seal any vulnerabilities in their IT.
As the latest findings show, the most popular mobile operating systems are a prime target for cyber criminals on account of the fact that they can hit a greater number of mobile device users. Meanwhile, they are accomplishing their malicious ends in a variety of new ways. With these trends in mind, IT professionals will have a better understanding of the devices that will be increasingly connected to their corporate networks and how cyber criminals might use these to level an attack. Knowledge is the best defense and empowers IT decision makers to institute well-informed BYOD security policies.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.