Kaspersky warning: Huge surge in mobile malware could cripple Android

Given the continued growth in smartphones, it’s unsurprising that malware authors are increasingly focusing on the mobile world, and security firm Kaspersky’s latest report indicates a huge rise in Trojans targeting mobile banking.

Obviously enough, if there’s one area you can make money with malware, it’s by sneaking credit card or banking details off a phone. Kaspersky’s report (which the Telegraph spotted) states that cyber-crooks have “become obsessed” with thieving financial details from smartphones – phishing, grabbing card numbers, and stealing via money transfers.

There were only 67 mobile banking Trojans at the start of 2013, and by the end of the year, Kaspersky counted 1321. That’s a near twenty-fold increase, leaving you wondering what the figure will be at the end of 2014.

Overall in the mobile devices (tablets and phones) world, Kaspersky observed 100,000 pieces of malware last year, compared to 40,000 throughout 2012.

Unsurprisingly, almost all of this mobile malware nastiness is targeted at Android, simply because it is the biggest and juiciest platform to target (much like Windows when it comes to the desktop) – and also more vulnerable to intrusion than iOS. 98 per cent of all the mobile malware Kaspersky detected in 2013 was aimed at Google’s OS.

The moral of the story is that if you don’t think your phone needs security measures, well, maybe you need to start thinking again, particularly if you use your device for sensitive tasks like mobile banking or payments. Common sense doesn’t hurt, either – if you stray outside of Google Play for your apps, then you’ll need to exercise a lot of caution. Even the Play Store is far from a cast iron guarantee of security…

Kaspersky warned: “In 2014 we expect to see vulnerabilities of all types being actively exploited to give malware root access on devices, making removal even more difficult.”