Alarm over huge increase in Web attacks, viruses

PHOTO | FILE An Android powered tablet.

What you need to know:

  • Over 35,000 nasty Android programmes identified this year, six times more than in 2011, raising fears over cyber safety

Surging demand for Android powered gadgets triggered an explosive growth in the number of cyber threats targeting the platform in 2012, a new report reveals.

According to the Kaspersky Security Bulletin released at the weekend, 99 per cent of mobile malware detected by the Kaspersky Lab in 2012 was designed for the Android platform.

“Although malicious programmes for other mobile platforms, such as Symbian, Blackberry and J2ME, are still being developed, 99 per cent of newly discovered malware targeted the Android platform,” Kaspersky said in the bulletin.

The lab said it identified more than 35,000 malicious Android programmes in the year — which is about six times more than what was recorded last year.

An increase in the uptake of Android devices as consumer appetite for smartphones increases could have made the platform the biggest target for cybercriminals.

The new statistics could deny mobile manufacturers whose devices operate on Android platforms a chance to enjoy the fruits of the growth recorded in mobile data consumption as subscribers opt for less vulnerable systems.

Generally, the year has recorded more security threats than 2011.

Web-based attacks

Kaspersky Lab’s products blocked more than 1.5 billion Web-based attacks throughout the year, almost double the number of attacks in 2011.

“What 2012 has shown is a strong inclination of cybercriminals to steal data from devices used by consumers and businesses — be they PCs, Macs, smartphones or tablets.

“We also observed a strong increase in the overall number of threats affecting all popular software environments,” the director of Global Research & Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab, Mr Costin Raiu, said.

The company outlined increased attacks on businesses, and high growth in state-sponsored cyber warfare, as some of the key online security threats expected next year.

The evolving role of hacktivism, development of controversial “legal” surveillance tools and an increase in cybercriminal attacks targeting cloud-based services will also cause major online security concerns in 2013 according to Kaspersky Lab experts.


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