More than $1 million was stolen from Android Users in 2011 and researchers believe that they are now 4 percent more likely to encounter malware.
Lookout Mobile Security has released its 2012 Mobile Malware Predictions report in which it is estimated that mobile threats successfully stole more than one million dollars from Android users this year.
It is predicted that next year will be more profitable for the business of criminal threats. This is because of the increasing possibility of monetizing mobile devices and while the cost of infecting devices is decreasing, according a release on the report.
Lookout's report is based on data collected from its Mobile Threat Network. The data includes more than one million apps and 15 million handsets worldwide.
At the beginning of the year, Android users were only one percent likely to meet upon malware, according to the report.
2011 was a watershed year in terms of the types threats we saw emerging, said Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and chief technology officer at Lookout. Threats had greater sophistication and were deployed using more innovative and efficient distribution methods. In 2012, we expect to see the mobile malware business turn profitable. What took 15 years on the PC platform has only taken the mobile ecosystem two years.
Here are the other findings from the research:
- Android users worldwide have a 36 percent chance of clicking on an unsafe link in 2011.
- In the United States, the likelihood of encountering an unsafe link is higher than the global average at 40 percent.
Mobile Malware Monetization Trends
- Mobile Pickpocketing (SMS/call fraud): Malware writers will continue to steal money directly from consumers in 2012 through accessing their mobile devices' ability to charge phone bills via SMS billing and phone calls.
- Lookout identified GGTracker earlier this year as the first mobile malware stealing money from users in the U.S.
- This week, Lookout identified another Android Trojan, RuFraud, which it said is targeting Eastern European users.
- Lookout researchers anticipate that in 2012, malware writers could secretly incorporate thousands of mobile devices into botnet-like networks to hand out spam, steal private information and install other malware. The report lists DroidDream and Geimini as examples of botnets.
- Lookout said that the difficulty in updating software and fixing vulnerabilities on mobile phones could mean that malware writers will continue to exploit iOS and Android OS at a pace that is much higher than those things can be solved.
Mobile Malware Distribution Trends
- Malware writers will create tools for automatic repackaging of malicious applications, accoridng to Lookout, which noted that it has seen cases where infected apps were packaged by the same developer within seconds. Researchers noted that this trend may already be in existence.
- Malware writers will attempt to profit through Web-based delivery such as e-mail, text messages and fraudulent Web sites, Lookout stated. It noted that Apple's iOS devices have been the target of Web sites that are designed to jailbreak them.
- Instances of what they call malvertising, or when a genuine-looking advertisements links to fraudulent sites, will continue to increase, according to Lookout.