Say good-bye

Say good-bye

Anyone who has gotten a visit of Security Systems 2011 on their computer knows how annoying and potentially devastating malware viruses can be. Unfortunately, Cal researchers Adrienne Porter Felt, Matthew Finifter, Erika Chin, Steve Hanna and David Wagner conclude that malware is spreading to mobile phones and will eventually “rival the desktop malware landscape.”

In their study entitled “A Survey of Mobile Malware in the Wild,” the research team analyzed the “incentives” behind 46 pieces of iOS, Android and Symbian malware that spread between January 2009 and June 2011.Twenty-eight of the 46 malware studied stole user information such as one’s contact list and browser history. Twenty-four of the malware studied sent premium calls or SMS messages, resulting in expensive phone bills for the victim. Other incentives include stealing user credentials (such as credit card or bank account information), search engine optimization, ransom (blackmail for stolen personal information) and pranks for the sake of amusement.

The research team predicts that malware will continue to evolve in the future, resulting in new incentives such as invasive advertising and e-mail spam.

It’s a brave new world for mobile phones. Be careful and don’t download weird third-party apps.

Image source: osde8info under Creative Commons
UC Berkeley Researchers Warn of Fast-Growing Mobile Malware Threat [Mobile Enterprise]
A Survey of Mobile Malware in the Wild [UC Berkeley EECS]

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