The latest Mobile Threats Report by Juniper Networks has thrown some alarming statistics. For instance, while mobile malware across all mobile platforms grew 155% in 2011, between March 2012 and March 2013 that number has escalated to a shocking 614% or 276,259 total malicious apps. There are over 500 third-party app stores containing malicious apps with incredibly low levels of accountability. Want to hear more? 73% of all malware is sending fraudulent premium SMS messages that can charge the unsuspecting user up to $10 every month.
The report also highlights that 92% of all known mobile malware happens in Android operating systems, this number can mean much more if we consider that an estimated one billion Android smartphones will be shipped by 2017. Interestingly enough, Juniper argues that most of this threat could be eliminated if all Android phones were running the latest OS version. But due to the fragmented ecosystem that characterizes Android, only 4% of phones have it.
The widespread adoption and use of mobile phones has given malware developers more than enough incentive to switch some of their efforts from the PC market to the rapidly growing (and increasingly profitable) mobile app market.
How does this affect your brand?
One of the most successful techniques criminals use is impersonating a brand or company in order to gain the user’s trust. They have been doing this in phishing emails, online campaigns, text messages, and recently on fake mobile apps.
Besides educating consumers on how to identify rogue apps, there is only so much that carrier and software vendors can do to control this rising threat. According to Juniper’s Michael Callahan, “enterprises and government organizations need to take a comprehensive look at protecting their data and networks by adopting a holistic mobile security approach”
Companies who are constantly monitoring their brand’s mentions on social media platforms are now realizing that monitoring mobile applications should also be a must. “We are seeing apps that are using our client’s logos in their marketing materials or app description, or claiming to ‘work with [insert client name here]’s website’. Often, the app does not explicitly state they are unaffiliated with our client, which can therefore confuse users into thinking it is a legitimate or client-authorized app, and considering the apps are rarely well-produced, can easily tarnish the user’s impression of the brand.” – Dylan Sachs, Incident Response Manager at BrandProtect
Is your brand name being misused and your customers misled? Only one way to find out.
Mobile Malware will continue to take hold of unsuspecting victims. Are you concerned?