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Mobile malware rises 11 per cent in Q3, banking threats still a concern

Security company Kaspersky Lab (opens in new tab) has released its latest quarterly threat evolution report for the third quarter of this year which shows over 300,000 new mobile malware programs detected, a 10.8 per cent increase over Q2.

Displaying intrusive advertisements to consumers remained the main method of profiting from mobile threats. Mobile adware has continued to increase and accounts for more than half of all detected mobile threats in the quarter.

Some mobile attack methods are using superuser privileges (root access) to conceal their presence in the systems folder, making them hard to combat. Some good news is that SMS Trojans have decreased, accounting for only 6.2 per cent of mobile threats during the quarter.

Attacks on mobile banking remain a major problem despite being down slightly, 5.68 million notifications compared to 5.9 million in the previous quarter. Kaspersky Lab solutions blocked almost 626,000 attempts to launch malware capable of stealing money via access to consumers' online banking, 17.2 per cent lower than in the previous quarter. Users in Austria were most likely to be attacked by banking Trojans with five per cent of Kaspersky users in the country facing the threat during the quarter. Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Upatre is the most most common threat, used in 63.1 of attempts to steal payment details.

"The developments in Q3 demonstrate that the global threat landscape is continuing to evolve at a fast pace. Malicious mobile programs are on the rise and in countries where online banking is popular, people are at considerable risk from Trojans looking to target them. With 5.6 million cases of attempted theft from online bank accounts, and cybercriminals continually developing sophisticated attacks, the use of high quality cybersecurity products has never been more important. It's vital that all those using the Internet - both individuals and organisations - protect themselves from these growing threats," says David Emm, Principal Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab's Global Research and Analysis team.

Kaspersky Lab also says it's been investigating a number of targeted cyber attacks including Turla which uses satellite communication to manage its command and control servers, the Darkhotel APT which infiltrates hotel Wi-Fi networks to place back doors on target computers, and the Blue Termite APT which focuses on stealing information from organizations in Japan.

Much more information is in the full report which is available to download from Kaspersky's Securelist website (opens in new tab).

Image Credit: DeiMosz (opens in new tab) / Shutterstock (opens in new tab)

Ian Barker worked in information technology before discovering that writing about computers was easier than fixing them. He has worked for a staff writer on a range of computer magazines including PC Extreme, was editor of PC Utilities, and has written for TechRadar, BetaNews, IT Pro Portal, and LatestGadgets.