New mobile malware threats increased 46 percent in the fourth quarter compared to a year ago, according to McAfee's quarterly report on emerging threats.
In a nutshell, hackers are following popular platforms. For instance, email spam continues to decline as usage drops. Only 80 percent of email traffic was spam in the fourth quarter, the lowest mark since the first quarter of 2007. Yes, folks 80 percent of all email is spam and that's good news.
Instead of focusing on email, cybercriminals are moving to mobile devices and platforms. McAfee notes "a steady growth in the number of threats to mobile devices." Key targeted platforms include Android. SymbOS/Zitmo.A and Android/Geinimi were the two headliner malware threats for mobile. Symbian remains the most targeted for malware---largely due to market share.
This quarter presented some of the most interesting changes of the year. In the past three months we saw the lowest spam volumes since 2007, but at the same time we identified attacks on new devices such as smartphones using the Android operating system. Mobile malware and threats have been around for years, but we must now accept them as part of the mobile landscape, both in awareness and deployment.
Other key odds and ends from the McAfee report:
- Auto run malware, banking Trojans and downloaders are the most favored malware in the fourth quarter.
- Botnets delivered via spam appear to be dormant for now, but that could change.
- 51 percent of the top 100 daily search terms lead to malicious sites. These search engine attacks are likely to target mobile devices in 2011.
- Adobe's Acrobat is the most favored software to exploit.