Mobile malware is on track to double again in 2011, as it has every year since 2007, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab.
The doubling of malicious programs for mobile devices continues a trend first spotted in 2007 and that is beginning to resemble the world of PC viruses more each day, with platforms like Google’s Android taking over for Microsoft’s Windows as a hacker’s target of choice.
“The situation with the Android OS is becoming similar to the current situation with Windows,” wrote Kaspersky Lab expert, Yuri Namestnikov. The most prone Android devices are those which have been jailbroken, giving users administrative access over the platform akin to what many WIndows users enjoy on their systems. And, as in the Windows world, most users are running out of date versions of the Android OS and ignore security alerts as well, Namestnikov wrote.
But mobile threats are just one problem. A slew of targeted and uncharacteristically high profile threats emerged in the first quarter of 2011, including the HBGary attack carried out by group calling themselves Anonymous, the hack of EMC’s security division RSA and a compromise of email service providing giant Epsilon.
The string of high profile attacks marks a shift in behavior for organized online crime groups, that would have been content to go after lightly defended small businesses and home users in the past.
The first quarter of 2011 wasn’t all gloom and doom though. In March, a joint operation carried out by Microsoft and US law enforcement cut global spam levels by 15% when they decapitated, and thus rendered useless, the prolific and previously evasive Rustock spambot. Unfortunately, the creators of this botnet walked away unscathed and the network of zombie computers remain infected. So, in theory, the Rustock operators can create a similar botnet by retaking control of those infected computers, but according to Kaspersky Lab research, this has yet to occur.
For more information and extensive statistics, you can read the full report at Securelist.