BYOD malware threats depend on platform

Malware threats to mobile devices become more prevalent with BYOD.

With the ever increasing popularity of bring your own device (BYOD) , IT departments have had to examine how they approach security. With employees being able to bring in a device by any manufacturer , it’s more challenging to have company wide security in place.

A new report said that the growing use of mobile devices has made them prime targets for cyber criminals, eclipsing desktop computers in this post-PC era. The total amount of malware across all mobile platforms grew 614 percent to a total of 276,259 malicious apps from March 2012 to March 2013. Compared with the 155 percent increase in 2011, this suggests an even greater shift in cyber criminals’ focus to mobile technology.

As far as popularity goes, Apple and its iOS is the leader with its design and innovation. Device security is handled through the company with no malware stats made available to the public. Google is another front runner in mobility with its Android systems. Android’s larger presence has made it a target for attacks due to the ease with which hackers can take advantage of its open platform.  This year Android has had a 92 percent share of all detected threats in mobile malware. The other 8 percent are the Windows Mobile, JAVAME, BlackBerry and Symbian platforms.

The report said that between March 2012 and March 2013, three types of malware accounted for almost all of the attacks on mobile devices. These were spyware applications, malicious programs that mimic legitimate app behavior and fake install applications. The most popular threat in the programs that imitate real apps were SMS Trojans which send text messages to a premium service.

Businesses should invest in mobile anti-virus subscriptions that provide a first line of defense and limit malware. Companies should ensure they manage all the hardware connecting to their networks, implementing ways to remotely track, locate or wipe stolen or lost devices. It’s also crucial to encrypt data stored on devices.

Matt Williams

A self-proclaimed ‘tech geek’, Matt has worked in technology for a decade and divides his time between blogging and working in IT. A huge New York Giants fan, when not watching football Matt gets his game on playing Call of Duty with his friends and other tech bloggers.