Report: Windows Devices Account for 80% of Mobile MalwareReport: Windows Devices Account for 80% of Mobile Malware
Windows PCs have long been notorious targets for malware, and it seems that Microsoft’s mobile devices are following the same path as well, according to a report by Alcatel-Lucent (ALCTL).
September 21, 2015
The company’s Motive Security Labs found that in May Windows devices had an 80 percent rate of infection by malware over Android-based devices, which made up the remaining 20 percent.
According to the report, Android infections rates have generally been on the decline over the eight months previous, while Windows-based devices have been on the rise. This is despite the fact that Android-based devices comprised about 83 percent of all devices shipped in 2015, according to IDC’s latest forecast, while Windows mobile devices were about a mere 3 percent.
If it seems puzzling that Windows devices, despite their small market share, would be responsible for so much malware, Alcatel-Lucent explains why in the report. It seems that the history of attacks on the Windows PC platform is coming back to haunt Microsoft’s mobile devices as well.
“Most people are surprised to find such a high proportion of Windows/PC devices involved,” the company acknowledged. “These Windows/PCs are connected to the mobile network via dongles and mobile Wi-Fi devices or simply tethered through smartphones. They are responsible for a large percentage of the malware infections observed.”
Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive Security Guardian technology generated the data for the report, one of many the company’s security labs release. Mobile and fixed-line networks deploy this technology globally to monitor traffic from more than 100 million devices.
The report was not all bad news, however. The company found that malware targeting mobile devices is currently not as sophisticated as the typical malware that infects PCs and laptops running Windows, and can be identified or disposed of quite quickly.
“It’s typically distributed as a Trojanized application that users must install themselves due to social engineering or phishing,” according to Alcatel-Lucent. “It makes no serious attempt to conceal itself and can be removed by uninstalling the app. The C&C (command and control) is not very robust, often using hard-coded IP addresses or domain names. The infection rate is significantly less than in fixed broadband networks.”
Still, Windows PCs and laptops account for more than 50 percent of the malware infections that are seen on the mobile network, making Windows still the “platform of choice” for cybercriminals who’ve already invested years of experience in the platform, the company said.
Moreover, as people continue to use their mobile devices to access the Internet, cybercriminals will begin creating more sophisticated malware for these platforms, making it more difficult to detect and remove, according to Alcatel-Lucent.
“Cybercrime has certainly been quick to move in to green field opportunities provided by premium SMS numbers and spyphone capabilities,” the company said in the report.
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