Smartphone malware up by 800%

More and more mobile malware is crawling out of the woodwork

November 9, 2011

More alarm bells are being rung regarding the ever increasing amounts of malware which are aimed at smartphone users.

The latest warnings come from the Get Safe Online campaign, which has produced its state of the nation report for 2011.

The numbers of “broad” internet users – who go online for over ten types of internet activity – has increased from 38% of those online in 2009, to 49% last year.

But the biggest increase in online activity comes in the world of smartphones, as the report cites Ofcom data which shows that 27% of UK adults and half of teenagers now own a smartphone.

It isn’t surprising, then, that malware which is targeting smartphones has increased eightfold – and that’s just over the past four months. A staggeringly short period for such an increase, although malware levels have risen from relatively low levels (certainly in comparison to computer based viruses).

The smartphone market is doubtless seen as ripe due to the relative lack of protection, with people not thinking as much about mobile security. That’s a situation which needs to change.

The report noted that half of the UK population have been swindled by cyber-criminals in one way or another, and that 19 people fall victim to cyber-crime every minute in this country. This costs the UK an estimated £470 million per year.

When it comes to online shopping, 72% of internet denizens use the web for their purchasing needs (or at least some of them). Half use auction sites to sell goods to others.

The report also found a relatively sizeable percentage of users at either end of the online caution scale. 20% avoided any online banking or financial management system due to not trusting their account to be compromised.

On the other hand, 16% were quite happy to open an email attachment from an unknown source.


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