Home Computers and Mobile Devices See Huge Leap in Malware in 2Q

Sue Marquette Poremba

Time for the second quarter malware reports to be released, and Kindsight’s was the first to arrive in my mailbox. Just based on the news, I would think that the biggest stories of the quarter would involve Android malware (there didn't seem to be a week without something new in Android malware), malware hitting the Apple OS for the first time with some consistency and Flame.

Turns out I wasn’t too off mark. According to the Kindsight report, the 2Q saw a 300 percent increase in the number of Android malware samples (no wonder it felt like I was reading about new Android attacks all the time — I was!) and Flashback infected 10 percent of home networks with Mac computers.

But here were two other highlights from the report that I didn’t expect: Approximately 1 out of 100 devices on mobile networks were infected and nearly 1 in every 100 home networks infected with the ZeroAccess botnet, communicating with 1 million computers globally.

These are all numbers that should make IT and security departments take notice. In the era of BYOD, these findings add up to a lot of personally owned devices that are probably being used to connect to the corporate network. For example, on the concern of malware spreading from one computer to another, Kevin McNamee, security architect and director, Kindsight Security Labs, explained in a release:

The concern with ZeroAccess is that it is using the subscriber's bandwidth maliciously which will cost them money as they exceed bandwidth caps. And, once the computer is compromised, it can also spread additional malware or launch new attacks.

However, not everyone is convinced by the results of the report. In response to a section of the report that highlighted the high number of households that have been infected, including 10 percent of Mac households, Emil Protalinski at ZDNet stated in his blog:

The security firm is specifically looking at home networks and Mac market share to extrapolate a more accurate number. Nevertheless, I find the 10 percent statistic a little hard to believe.

Whether the numbers are totally accurate or not is a little beside the point, in my opinion. The fact is, the Kindsight statistics show that malware is on the rise across platforms. The more personal devices are infected, the greater the risk for corporate networks. If nothing else, the results need to spur evaluation of BYOD policies.

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