F-Secure Releases Mobile Threat Report for Q3 2012

The study details the most prevalent threats recorded in the past 4 months

F-Security has released its Mobile Threat Report for the third quarter of 2012. The study focuses on potentially unwanted software, the pieces of spyware and the pieces of malware that posed the greatest threat to mobile phone users in the past four months.

As far as Android is concerned, a number of 51.447 unique pieces of malware have been detected in the third quarter. Although Google has introduced Bouncer as an extra layer of security for Google Play, the number of malicious samples have still increased.

Experts believe this increase is most likely caused by the growth in Android smartphone adoption. As Crossbeam representatives highlighted in an interview we had with them last week, it’s not an easy task for mobile network operators to secure their infrastructures when millions of new devices are added almost simultaneously.

The same must also be true for websites that host mobile phone applications. The smartphone markets of Russia and China have grown considerably and experts say that this expansion has “also been notable for the proliferation of less-secure third-party apps markets, which are popular with users for various reasons.”

“This factor may also account for the increasing number of malicious samples seen this quarter,” the report reads.

In total, a number of 42 new malware families and new variants of existing families have been spotted.

Other noteworthy events include the finding of a Zitmo (Zeus-in-the-mobile) version designed to target BlackBerry devices and the discovery of FinSpy Trojans that work on multiple platforms, including Symbian, iOS and Windows Mobile.

FinSpy is a Trojan created by UK software company FinFisher, which experts believe is utilized by some governments to spy on their citizens.

The figures show that the number of new mobile threats has increased for all platforms compared to the previous quarter, except for the ones targeting J2ME.

The list of potentially unwanted software covered in F-Secure’s report includes Android hack tools such as Penetho.A and Whapsni.A, but also monitoring applications such as AccuTrack.A and Cobbler.A.

The most common threats in Q3 2012 were Trojans (71%), followed by Riskware and monitoring tools.

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