Trojan and Zeus, security threats that have thus far been associated with desktop computers, are now being brought to mobile platforms.
A recent report from security giant McAfee said malware growth on mobile devices is at an all time high.
The report, McAfee Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2010, said in 2010, mobile malware threats increased by 46 percent from the year before. It said mobile platforms suffered from several attacks including SymbOS/Zitmo.A and Android/Geinimi. SymbOS/Zitmo.A was from the creators of the Zeus botnet as a repurposed an old version of a commercial spyware package. Android/Geinimi went after the Android operating system, as it was a Trojan inserted into legitimate mobile applications and games for the OS.
Our Q4 Threats Report shows that cybercriminals are keeping tabs on what's popular, and what will have the biggest impact from the smallest effort, Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, said in a statement.
The report also identified 20 million new pieces of malware in 2010, equating to nearly 55,000 new malware threats every day. McAfee said the most popular spyware of the year tapped into the cybercrime mentality that permeated the security landscape.
In the past few quarters, malware trends have been very similar in different geographies, but in the last quarter we've seen a significant shift in various regions, showing that cybercriminals are tapped in to trends worldwide. McAfee Labs also sees the direct correlation between device popularity and cybercriminal activity, a trend we expect to surge in 2011, Weafer said.
The most active threats of the past year, accrording to McAfee, included Zeus-Murofet, Conficker and Koobface. Another popular hacker trend was phishing URLs in the form of the IRS, gift cards, rewards accounts, and social networking accounts. More than half of the top 100 most popular search terms led to malicious sites.
The report also pointed to Adobe's popular Flash and PDF reader as being the distribution method of choice for malware authors and cybercriminals in order to compromising systems and networks. That could lend credence to Steve Jobs' choice to omit Flash support from the iOS platform.
Corroborating a report from Cisco, McAfee expects hacktivism, the art of hacking to prove a political point, to rise in 2011.