Feeds

Mobile malware menace hits high - McAfee

Should telcos be scared or skeptical?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

3GSM Malware attacks across mobile networks have reached an all-time high, if figures aired by McAfee today are anything to go by.

Four in five mobile operators (83 per cent) were hit by mobile device infections last year, according to a study by analyst group Informa. In addition, the number of reported security incidents in 2006 was more than five times as high as in 2005.

The McAfee-sponsored study, published on Monday during the 3GSM World Congress, seeks to portray a picture of mobile operators fending off an increasing number of malware attacks. The study suggests that mobile malware is having an effect on customer satisfaction and network performance.

Such a conclusion fits neatly with McAfee's plans to sell greater volumes of mobile anti-virus software to telcos, of course. UK mobile operators we've spoken to take the threat of malware seriously but quite how much of a problem mobile malware is, and might become, is harder to pin down.

By most estimates around 200 strains of mobile malware have been discovered. Most of these affect Symbian devices with a minority targeting smartphones running Windows Mobile. A small subset of these devices - such as Skulls - is capable of wiping data from devices.

Anti-virus researchers, quite properly, highlight the damage items of mobile malware can do. What often goes unreported is how widespread infections are, often because such data is hard to come by. The McAfee study says four in five operators experienced a mobile device infection last year.

That sounds bad, but it doesn't really shed a lot of light on how serious the problem is or isn't because it doesn't give us any idea of the number of reports. The impact of mobile viruses remains unclear.

What we can say with some degree of certainty is that there's never been an incident of an item of mobile malware spreading in a Windows PC-style epidemic. And support firms such as WDSGlobal report that calls about infections by mobile malware are almost unknown.

Against this, security firms correctly argue that as mobile devices become more like computers they are more susceptible to attack.

Register readers frequently write to us about virus infestation problems or phishing attacks, some even going so far as to report they've been duped. But I for one have never seen a report from a reader whose device has been infected by an item of mobile malware - which suggests the problem is not as bad as security vendor reports make it seem.

Unless, of course, you know different. If you've been hit by mobile malware please get in touch. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.