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Mobile malware is being dominated by ransomware infections

When it comes to the world of malware, attacks on mobile phones are on the increase, and perhaps more worryingly these attacks are becoming more vicious and personal.

This is according to the 2015 State of Mobile Malware Report, prepared by Blue Coat Systems, which found that the most prevalent type of mobile malware this year is cyber-blackmail (or ransomware).

Ransomware generally locks files on your phone – such as your photos, videos or music – and threatens to eradicate them if you don’t stump up a payment to the attacker (usually via Bitcoin).

In second place were PUPs or Potentially Unwanted Programs, in other words types of adware or spyware which gather data on the user, and may try to serve ads or similar tricks.

As for the top infection vectors for 2015, in the number one spot was pornography, up hugely from last year. This year, Blue Coat observed that when a mobile user was heading to a malicious site, 36% of the time they were coming from a porn site. That’s a major increase from the figure of 16.55% seen in 2014.

Dr. Hugh Thompson, CTO and senior vice president, Blue Coat, commented: “As we sleep, exercise, work and shop with our mobile devices, cyber criminals are waiting to take advantage of the data these devices collect, as evidenced by the types of malware and attacks we’re seeing.

“The implications of this nefarious activity certainly carry over to corporate IT as organisations rapidly adopt cloud-based, mobile versions of enterprise applications, opening up another avenue for attackers. A holistic and strategic approach to managing risk must extend the perimeter to mobile and cloud environments – on a realistic, accurate look at the problem – and deploy advanced protections that can prioritise and remediate sophisticated, emerging and unknown threats.”

Darren Allan
Darren Allan

Darran has over 25 years of experience in digital and magazine publishing as a writer and editor. He's also an author, having co-written a novel published by Little, Brown (Hachette UK). He currently writes news, features and buying guides for TechRadar, and occasionally other Future websites such as T3 or Creative Bloq and he's a copy editor for TechRadar Pro. Darrran has written for a large number of tech and gaming websites/magazines in the past, including Web User and ComputerActive. He has also worked at IDG Media, having been the Editor of PC Games Solutions and the Deputy Editor of PC Home.