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Cyber Thieves Increasingly Attack Mobile Devices


FILE - Cell phones, and other mobile devices, are increasingly the target of cyber criminals.

FILE - Cell phones, and other mobile devices, are increasingly the target of cyber criminals.

The amount of malicious software targeting mobile devices is exploding, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab.

Kaspersky said that in 2013 “nearly 100,000 new malicious programs for mobile devices were detected.” That’s more than two times the number detected the previous year, the company said.

As of January 1, 2014, Kaspersky Lab says it collected 143,211 mobile malware samples.

Rolf von Roessing, the former international vice president of the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, ISACA, told information security professionals at the 2013 EuroCACS information security and risk management conference in London that a “tidal wave” of threats was emerging against mobile devices.

Android users are particularly vulnerable, with over 91 percent of the malware detected targeting the popular mobile operating system, according to Kaspersky.

“Android is currently more of a target than iOS, but attacks are happening against Apple mobile devices and, when they are breached, it is usually fairly serious,” said von Roessing.

Russia leads the world, claiming 40 percent of attacks. India was second with eight percent of attacks, and Vietnam and Ukraine were tie for third with four percent of attacks.

“Kaspersky's findings are consistent with the numbers being reported by other security vendors in their annual threat reports," said Christopher Burgess, CEO of Prevendra a Security, privacy and intelligence company. “The message? If you are using a mobile device, keep your operating system up to date, only download apps from trusted sources, and have in place security software to protect the content of your mobile device."

Kaspersky said the vast majority of mobile malware was made with the aim of stealing people’s money. This kind of malware increased by a factor of 20, they said. Most of the malware was designed to phish, steal bank card information or to take money from bank accounts.

“Today, the majority of banking Trojan attacks target users in Russia and the CIS,” said Victor Chebyshev, a virus analyst at Kaspersky in a statement . “However, that is unlikely to last for long: given cybercriminals’ keen interest in consumer bank accounts, the activity of mobile banking Trojans is expected to grow in other countries in 2014.”

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