Most users are aware of the dangers that can plague a desktop or laptop computer but very few are concerned when it comes to their phones or tablets. Recent research conducted by RiskIQ shows just how dangerous the mobile marketplace can be, as well as the importance of downloading apps with caution. The Internet security company claims that malicious apps have grown by 388 percent from 2011 to 2013.
The types of malware monitored by RiskIQ ran the gamut from minor annoyances, all the way up to account theft and the ability to run costly, unauthorized payments. Among the most common apps were those that could collect and send a user’s contact lists and e-mail addresses to third parties. More malicious were the apps that masked themselves as other legitimate programs and could wait for a user to make a transaction, only to redirect the payment to the malwares creator.
RiskIQ focused primarily on the Google App store and claims that as much as 12 percent of the apps they monitored over the three year study contained malware in some form or another. Google has introduced new security measures to weed out malicious software since the study first began, which has likely reduced this number, but it is still better to act on the side of caution.
The rate at which malware has grown in the last few years has reached the point where it effects everyone and every business in one way or another. Mobile devices are just the newest method of spreading the problem. Until users have the same urgency to protect mobile devices as they have for protecting PCs, the threat will continue to grow. Android and smartphone users in general need to take care when using their devices and also take extra precautions by adding security software to all phones and tablets.
– Richard Keene
IT Computer Support of New York
Webmaster and Lead Designer