malware

Second, even non-Mac users tend to think security is already built in to their smartphones or tablets, so they also resist efforts to install antivirus, firewall, or other additional security on what are often their own systems.

Third, the fastest-growing malware segment targets Adobe applications rather than the traditional browser or operating system, doing an end run around the expectations of both users and many IT security people, according to analysts at the security vendors McAfee and Commtouch.

The sense of security that Apple users have comes from the Mac. Mac users have been trained to feel safe because Apple averages 6 to 8 percent client OS market share, which has encouraged malware writers and botnet builders to aim at Windows PCs instead, said Alex Stamos, a security analyst at iSec Partners.

Android takes the malware lead

The August edition of security firm McAfee Labs’ quarterly threat report (PDF) found that the number of malware threats rose faster during the first six months of this year than ever — 22 percent faster than last year, which held the previous record.

Among mobile devices, malware aimed at Google’s Android OS increased in number 76 percent compared to the year before, taking the lead from Symbian, previously the most-threatened smartphone operating system. Still, though it leads smartphone OSes in the number of malware threats, McAfee found only 44 specifically aimed at Android. But given there are 425,000 iOS apps on the market compared to about 200,000 for Android, the difference in availability of malware is remarkable.

And it is causing some damage. During the first half of 2011 about half a million Android users were infected with some form of malware; the number of infected Android apps skyrocketed from 80 in January to more than 400 by June, the Lookout report found.

By the end of 2012, 5 percent of all Android and iOS phones or tablets will have been infected at least once by viruses or trojans — most likely versions designed to steal information about users’ bank accounts, not just prove it’s possible to infect an iPhone, according to a report from ecurity vendor Trusteer.

The fantastically successful Zeus malware kit, which is designed to steal banking information, has been found running effectively on every major phone OS except iOS, according to Sophos virus research Vanja Svajcer.

Source: Infoworld news