Web ads eclipse porn as leading source of mobile malware

Summary:The number of malvertisements targeting mobile devices more than tripled last year, pushing contaminated web ads past pornography as the single largest malware threat to mobile users.

web-ads-eclipse-porn-leading-source-mobile-malware

Web ads directing users to malicious sites have surpassed pornography as the leading source of mobile malware, according to a new report from security and networking solutions provider Blue Coat Systems.

Today, one in every five times a mobile user encounters malware, it's through a tainted web ad. Just last year, web ads accounted for only 5.7 percent of mobile malware compared to 22 percent for porn sites.

But that doesn't mean mobile users should feel safe logging on to their favorite NSFW websites.

While it's true that the number of mobile malware incidents on pornography sites has (slightly) decreased, those sites still remain the most potent threat to mobile users.

"With web ads, the rise as a threat vector correlated with a rise in web ad requests," the report said. "The story is different for pornography. Requests for pornography on mobile devices don’t even reach 1 percent of all requested content, yet it accounts for more than 16 percent of all attacks."

"While users don’t access pornography that frequently, when they do, they are very vulnerable to malware," it added.

Whether the malware is delivered on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC, people continue to provide cybercrooks with the openings they need to infiltrate devices and steal personal information. Social networking sites now account for 13 percent of all mobile activity and these sites are the prime hunting grounds for mobile malware purveyors.

"The security models of phones aren't being breached," the report said, "but people are."

As the underground mobile malware market continues to mature , Blue Coat's research team expects more mobile malware scams to target online shopping and video content sites.

"Smaller screens and more difficult text entry methods have changed how we access and view online content," the report added. "So it’s not surprising that it also changes how we are exposed to malicious content."

 

Topics: Security, Android, Mobility

About

Larry Barrett is a freelance journalist and blogger who has covered the information technology and business sectors for more than 15 years. Most recently, he served as the online news editor for 1105 Media's Office Technology Group and as the online managing editor for SourceMedia's Investment Advisory Group publications Financial Pl... Full Bio

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