Mobile malware targets payment systems

Every three months or so there seems to be a new mobile malware survey or threat report citing the dramatic rise in mobile malware in circulation. Every single mobile malware report I’ve seen has indicated that somewhere between 95 and 100 percent of all mobile threats detected are developed for Android. This latest report from Kaspersky highlights a concerning trend of malware targeting mobile payment systems on Android smartphones and tablets.

I wrote about the findings of the Kaspersky report in this blog post:

Two very predictable traits drive cybercriminals: First, they tend to focus on targets with the highest odds of success. Second, they prefer attacks that generate profit. A new joint report from Kaspersky Lab and INTERPOL underscores how these two factors contribute to concerning trends in mobile threats.

The Mobile Cyber Threats report analyzes mobile malware data collected from Kaspersky’s cloud-based Kaspersky Security Network (KSN) during the period of August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014, for over 5 million Android smartphones and tablets protected by Kaspersky security products.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Android is by far the biggest target for mobile malware. Recent data from IDC indicates that Android comprises about 85 percent of the overall mobile platform market, with iOS a distant second, and the remaining crumbs being shared among Windows Phone, BlackBerry, and other platforms. From a pure numbers perspective, malware designed for Android has the greatest odds of success. Android is also a more open platform, which exposes it to great potential for exploit.

The Android platform is also less secure than its rival platforms because it allows users to download apps from questionable third-party app stores. Add to that the fact that mobile transactions via SMS are a popular method of payment in some regions, and the incentive for mobile malware developers is clear.

Read the full post at PCWorld: Report: Huge spike in mobile malware targets Android, especially mobile payments.

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