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Mobile malware explodes, hits corporate networks

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Posted June 26, 2013
Illustration photo shows SMS text messages displayed on a a smartphone. Smartphone users have seen an explosion of malware in the past year, dominated by schemes targeting Google's Android operating system, a survey showed Wednesday.

Illustration photo shows SMS text messages displayed on a a smartphone. Smartphone users have seen an explosion of malware in the past year, dominated by schemes targeting Google’s Android operating system, a survey showed Wednesday.

Smartphone users have seen an explosion of malware in the past year, dominated by schemes targeting Google’s Android operating system, a survey showed Wednesday.

The attacks are also starting to hit corporate networks, possibly as part of broader espionage efforts, according to the Juniper Networks Mobile survey.

The report showed a 614 percent jump in mobile malware in the 12 months to March 2013, with Android attacks accounting for 92 percent.

The prevalence of Android malware is not surprising in light of its dominance of the global smartphone market—around 75 percent—Juniper said the open platform with less regulation makes it more prone to attacks.

“Android does not have as rigorous a vetting system” as rival platforms such as Apple’s iOS and BlackBerry, said Karim Toubba, a Juniper vice president.

“But the reality is that all the operating systems have vulnerabilities.”

Toubba said the dominant scheme to “monetize” the attacks involves SMS text messages which infect a smartphone and surreptitiously deliver new messages to a “premium” SMS service, for a fee.

These services, which mimic legitimate ones such as those for voting on TV programs, can charge small fees such as 10 cents or 50 cents. The hackers can quickly cash in by infecting large numbers of devices, and can easily shut down and set up new numbers to avoid detection.

Read more at: Phys.org

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