Smartphones at increasing security risk, warns Nokia

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Smartphone infections have almost doubled with handsets a critical target for malware, new research from Nokia has revealed.

Its bi-annual Threat Intelligence report compared the first six months of 2016 with the second half of 2015, finding smartphones accounted for 78 percent of all mobile network infections.

April was an all-time high for infections, with 1.06 percent of all mobile devices targeted. In the same month, one out of every 120 smartphones had some form of malware infection. Android remains the most targeted operating system, accounting for 74 percent of total.

Nokia said downloaded apps through third party stores were the key conduit for malware attacks. It warned of more sophisticated malware attempting to root a smartphone, establish control over it and then set up a permanent presence on the device.

The top three threats, Uapush.A, Kasandra.B and SMSTracker, account for 47 percent of all infections. Other kinds of threats include ransomware, spyphone applications, SMS Trojans, personal information theft and aggressive adware.

Nokia gathered the data through its NetGuard Endpoint security solution, which is deployed on more than 100 million connected devices, including smartphones, Internet of Things devices and laptops.

Kevin McNamee, Head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab, said: "Today attackers are targeting a broader range of applications and platforms, including popular mobile games and new IoT devices, and developing more sophisticated and destructive forms of malware."