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Mobile threat report identifies new attacks

Users who get text messages from Twitter may want to exercise a little more caution as they browse their smartphone inboxes - and the social media platform's SMS feature was recently highlighted as a target in a recent mobile threat report published by F-secure.

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Mobile threat report identifies new attacks

malware, security, social network


Users who get text messages from Twitter may want to exercise a little more caution as they browse their smartphone inboxes - and the social media platform's SMS feature was recently highlighted as a target in a recent mobile threat report published by F-secure. The report highlighted several major attack trends:

• Increase in the number of region-based attacks
• Drive-by download attacks remain popular
• Trojans are used in 81 percent of mobile threats

In addition to traditional mobile threats, attackers are leveraging new strategies to target their victims.

New mobile device security threats
The report identified several new types of threats that users should be aware of. Drive-by downloads remain a popular type of attack, tricking mobile users into automatically downloading an application by visiting a website. However, one new threat utilizes Twitter to steal information about mobile devices.

"Cawitt.A for instance, accesses a Twitter account (possibly set up by the malware) to obtain a server address, from which it communicates with and receives further command from," the report said. "Upon receiving instructions, this malware sends out SMS messages to certain numbers, and forwards data on the device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, phone number, and Android ID to the aforementioned server."

In addition to new types of threats, F-Secure found variants of existing malware families. Mobile device management (MDM) technology can address risks like these by enforcing policies that require up-to-date anti-malware software.

Olympic mobile device security concerns
One of the ways malware developers can reach a large target base is by using excitement over popular events to lure excited fans into downloading malicious software. A recent Silicon Republic article highlighted a new type of threat that leverages the popularity of the 2012 Olympics.

According to the article, a new family of trojans infects mobile devices by posing as Olympic mobile game apps.

"Mobile malware is a relatively new frontier for cyber-criminals, but that does not mean that their attacks are any less sophisticated or dangerous," said Christopher Boyd, Senior Threat Researcher at GFI Software, who was quoted in the article. "Many users are not aware of the fact that cyber-criminals have created malware specifically for Android devices and are rushing to download apps before ensuring that they are legitimate."

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