Mobile and Android malware threats continue to rise

  • Social media popularity and small business uptake creating new weak links in Asia Pacific
  • Old methods such as spam and malicious URLs are still big problems for many countries

Mobile and Android malware threats continue to riseMOBILE malware continues to rise in the Asia Pacific region as smartphones, especially Android-based devices, are so popular, according to the ‘Q2 APAC Threat Landscape’ report released recently by security specialist Trend Micro Inc.
In a statement, Trend Micro said it has identified 25,000 mobile malware apps as of the second quarter of 2012, a 417% increase from the first quarter, and yet research shows that only one in five mobile devices have security apps installed. The trend matches its Q1 report.
Advanced Persistent Threats or APTs [a category that usually refers to cyber-espionage malware such as Stuxnet and Madi – Editor], most prevalent in India and Taiwan, are finding new methods to avoid detection, as seen in IXESHE.
Pronounced as “i-sushi”, this APT campaign uses compromised servers that belong to compromised organizations. Meanwhile, other attacks like the Police Trojan Attacks use ransom ware that targets victims by tracking their geographic locations and acting as local police forces, Trend Micro said.
“The reason why criminals are focusing their attacks on stealing personal data is simple – it’s the sheer volume of small business owners working from multiple devices that leaves them vulnerable to attacks,” said Myla Pilao, director of marketing communications at Trend Labs.
This extends to social media in the Asia Pacific region, as cybercriminals are starting to use Pinterest to re-direct victims to phishing pages or malicious sites. Pinterest is now the third most popular social networking site in the United States, with local versions sprouting in several countries in the region, the company said.
Meanwhile, old methods such as spam and malicious URLs are still big problems for countries like India, South Korea, and Vietnam, ranked the top, second and third sources of spam, respectively, and China, the top distributor of malware in Asia Pacific.
A growing global trend is the increase in sophisticated attack tools like the Automatic Transfer System (ATS), which allows criminals to steal banking information when they are not online. While ATS incidents have been spotted in Europe, the rising number of Asia Pacific online banking users means that ATS could be in the horizon.
In such a dynamic security threat landscape, Trend Micro encourages its customers to employ threat intelligence against attacks. Components of this defense strategy:

  • Enhance network visibility, insight, and control through security solutions.
  • Select a security solution with integrity checks to safeguard against malware changes in systems and registries which can lead to persistence.

Related Stories:

Asia, the new breeding ground for spam, says Sophos

Companies urged to protect personal information: Fortinet

Poor security awareness amongst Mac, smartphone and tablet users: Survey

As mobile usage grows, so should security: IDC

Malware targeting small businesses: Symantec report

Mobile malware threats on the rise

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