2012 signified the year where people started seriously thinking about mobile security and asking: how do we handle this new threat? The question was not merely one asked by uber-defense agencies (think back to Obama’s 2008 election and the debate surrounding the security of his Blackberry), but got the whole security industry thinking. A quick look at the multitude of 2013 predictions security trends published by the different vendors shows the rising concern regarding both cyber targeted attacks AND mobile threats.
Mobile security and targeted attacks are already receiving the attention of the main press. The NYTimes featured in August the uncovering of FinFisher – a mobile surveillance software mainly targeting high-ranking gov officials. Half a year later, on first day of the New Year, the NYTimes were already contemplating the implications of mobile malware as a widespread and growing concern to the whole population. In fact, paving a clear path from PC-based to mobile malware.
If and when antivirus makers are able to fortify desktop computers, chances are the criminals will have already moved on to smartphones.In October, the F.B.I. warned that a number of malicious apps were compromising Android devices. And in July, Kaspersky Lab discovered the first malicious app in Apple’s app store. The Defense Department has called for companies and universities to find waysto protect mobile devices from malware. McAfee, Symantec and others are working on solutions, and Lookout, a start-up whose products scan apps for malware and viruses, recently raised funding that valued it at $1 billion.
- Distribution via application markets. As mentioned, distributing mass malware via application markets is a typical technique to infect consumer’s mobile devices- mainly with fraud-focused malicious applications.
- Physical compromise. Hardly an occurrence on PCs, these are much more significant on the mobile. For example, much of the surreptitious surveillance software on iOS devices involves first jailbreaking the device through a USB cable.