Trend Micro's Q3 threat report: Mobile malware surged from 30K to 175K

Mobile malware rates for Q3 grossly outpace predictions, according to Trend Micro's latest report.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Trend Micro, a content security software provider, has released its third quarter roundup report, which highlighted threats surrounding mobile phones as well as zero day exploits targeting Java and Internet Explorer, among other problems.

The most notable finding, according to Trend Micro, is on the mobile front.

Bottom line: Trend Micro reps said the reality of the number of cyber threats over the last quarter have far surpassed the estimations of "even the world’s most renowned threat technologists."

Specifically, Trend Micro said that malware targeting Android increased nearly sixfold in Q3 2012 to approximately 175,000 malicious and "potentially dangerous" high-risk Android apps between July and September.


The bulk of that was found to be adware, which Trend Micro lamented that people think of adware as typically "non-threatening."

Adware can be particularly troublesome because this method can fool people so easily. Trend Micro researchers explained in the report that "most adware are designed to collect user information, a fine line exists between collecting data for simple advertising and violating one’s privacy."

Thus, it works people are so used to giving out information these days anyway for legitimate purposes that often times we don't stop to think further before giving the data out.

Trend Micro researchers explained why this unassuming attitude could be the biggest threat of all:

Smartphones are to the early 21st century what the PC was to the late 20th century–a universal tool valued for its productivity and fun factor but hated for the problems it can bring. Since smartphones are handheld computers that communicate, the threats they face are both similar and different from the PC challenges many of us are familiar with. Like the PC, many of today’s mobile malware prey upon the unwary. However, the nature of the mobile malware threat is, in some ways, very different.

Image via Trend Micro

UPDATE: Trend Micro sent us an updated copy of the Q3 report after this post was published. While clarifying that not all adware is bad, Trend Micro specified that 25 percent of the malware targeting Android is "aggressive adware."

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