More than 99 percent of new mobile threats in the first three months of 2014 targeted the Android ecosystem, a new survey has revealed, with the UK experiencing the most attacks.
F-Secure’s latest Mobile Threat Report said that 277 new threat families and variants were found in the three months to the end of March. One of these targeted the Apple’s iOS ecosystem and another targeted Symbian. The remainder targeted Android.
The number of new threats increased 85.9 percent during the past 12 months, with Android the target for 91 percent of them a year ago.
The Great Britain experienced the greatest number of threats, with between 15 and 20 malware files blocked for every 10,000 users. Amid the growing climate for mobile threats, the UK’s four mobile operators teamed up with the GSMA in March to launch an anti-spam service.
The US, India and Germany had between five and 10 malware blocked per 10,000 users. The Netherlands tied with Saudi Arabia, with between two and five malware being blocked for every 10,000 users in either country.
The security firm found new types of malware were being produced, including the first cryptocurrency miner. It hijacks a device to mine for virtual currencies such as Litecoin.
It also discovered the first bootkit, which attacks the early stages of a device’s bootup. F-Secure said this kind of threat is “extremely difficult to detect and remove”.
Elsewhere in the report, it said five out of six mobile trojans were sending SMS to premium numbers or SMS-based subscription services.
Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure, commented: “These developments give us signs as to the direction of malware authors. We’ll very likely see more of these in the coming months. For example, mobile phones are getting more powerful, making it possible for cybercriminals to profit by using them to mine for cryptocurrencies.”