Security VARs have pinpointed mobile malware as the next major headache for their customers as the number of Android threats continues to mushroom.
According to anti-virus vendor G Data, there were almost 520,000 new malicious files for the Android operating system in the first half of 2013, a 180 per cent rise on the second half of 2012.
It predicted that the figure would triple again in H2 2013 as Android smartphone and tablet shipments continue to rocket. The number of malware families doubled to 454 during the first half of the year, with trojan horses making up 86 per cent of the malware files registered.
G Data also warned that increasing use of specialised malware kits would make it easier for inexperienced perpetrators to steal data in the future. The malware functions in manipulated apps are being increasingly disguised, it added, both in the programme code and in the functionality of the application.
Ralf Benzmüller, head of G Data Security Labs, said: "Android will retain its dominant position in the smartphone and tablet segment over the coming months. We therefore expect mobile malware to triple."
Mobile malware was raised as a topic of concern by VARs attending a recent CRN roundtable on SME security, commissioned by McAfee.
Andy Mayle, chief technology officer at VAR Armadillo, said mobile devices would probably be at the forefront of every security attack going forward.
Mobile device management (MDM) solutions aren't always sufficient to stave off the threat, he argued.
"We come across a lot of clients that are putting a lot of trust in the fact that these MDM solutions are saying 'we've got this encrypted space, don't worry about your emails – it's not an issue'," Mayle said. "There seems to be a lack of awareness that the protected space itself is accessible by malware."
More than 90 per cent of mobile malware attacks have been found to target Android in recent studies.
Stephen Love, security practice lead at VAR Cisilion, said Google's operating system tends to be more open than either Apple iOS or Windows and therefore more susceptible to attacks. Unlike Microsoft and Apple, which vet their respective app stores, the process brought to bear on Android apps is also less stringent, he said.
"Adoption has been relatively rapid. As more Android devices come onto the network and are used for business purposes, the bigger the threat will become," he said.
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