Wrap your mind around this statistic: A new piece of malware on the Android platform is discovered every 18 seconds. That’s at least one new malware found in the time it took me to write these opening sentences. That’s insane.
It’s also the reality we now live in. As we become a more mobile society for both business and pleasure, cybercriminals will simply become smarter about ways to steal our financial and personal information. That’s what makes the revelations from G DATA’s Q1 2015 Mobile Malware Report so alarming. It isn’t just that there is a constant stream of new malware threats; we are being bombarded by them. According to the report, more than 440,000 new malware strains were discovered in the first three months of this year, or about 5,000 a day. Who wants to place bets that this number ends up being higher in the second quarter?
We also know that malware developers are specifically targeting Android devices. Another study, the 2015 Mobile Threat Report conducted by Pulse Secure (free download with registration), revealed that 97 percent of malware is designed to attack the Android platform. The reason why Android is a target, according to SC Magazine article stated, is simple:
Android applications continue to offer the lowest barrier to entry among all mobile device platforms currently available.
This isn’t really a surprise. The Android approach makes it easy for hackers to create and plant malware into applications and the bad guys are taking advantage of this at a rate that may have been unimaginable just a couple of years ago.
The growth in Android malware is following the growth in our reliance on smartphones and tablets. As stated in an InfoSecurity Magazine article:
Mobile banking and online shopping are booming. Fifty per cent of US consumers use a smartphone or tablet for their banking transactions, and 78 percent of Internet users make purchases online. This is a trend that has also attracted the attention of cyber-criminals recognizing the exploitation possibilities such as forced subscriptions via premium SMS or calls, extortion via ransomware, and remote control of money transfers.
From an enterprise point of view, the best way to approach this steady increase in mobile malware is to think of security in the same way as you would network security. As Troy Vennon, director of the Pulse Secure mobile threat center, told BetaNews, it’s important to not allow mobile devices to be the weak link:
Enterprise networks, while continually hardened at the perimeter, need to apply similar mobile security controls to appropriately deal with the ever increasing BYOD push coming from employees.
Sue Marquette Poremba has been writing about network security since 2008. In addition to her coverage of security issues for IT Business Edge, her security articles have been published at various sites such as Forbes, Midsize Insider and Tom's Guide. You can reach Sue via Twitter: @sueporemba