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China’s Top Mobile Security Threats

Beijing based NetQin Mobile, a provider of mobile security solutions, today released findings on the top mobile security threats that plagued

Beijing based NetQin Mobile, a provider of mobile security solutions, today released findings on the top mobile security threats that plagued Mainland China mobile device users in 2010. In its analysis of attacks and mobile security threats from the past year, NetQin discovered that 2010 brought almost triple the number of viruses specifically targeting mobile devices compared to 2009.

NetQin indicated that, as of November 2010, the company had identified over 2,000 mobile viruses and approximately 1,500 new viruses for the year 2010, representing a 193 percent increase compared to the same period the year before – or almost triple the number of threats from 2009. Research by NetQin also indicated that the total number of mobile viruses captured in 2010 is expected to exceed 2,500 and a total of more than 800 million mobile phones are estimated to have been infected by viruses in 2010.

Related: Mobile & Smart Device Security Survey Results – Concern Grows as Vulnerable Devices Proliferate

The most widespread virus identified by NetQin in 2010 was called the “Zombie Virus”, infecting more than approximately 150 million mobile phones. Zombie Virus variants also infected approximately 400,000 mobile phones in 2010. NetQin’s Cloud-Security Data Center also indicated four additional key findings from its analysis:

1. Virus Type: The main security threats to mobile phone users in 2010 were “fee consumption” viruses, malware that withdraws monetary credit on a phone once the virus has been contracted and enabled. This kind of virus increased in 2010 by a factor of more than five, growing from 171 in 2009 to 968 in 2010. This type of virus represented 32 percent of mobile viruses, inflecting more than 250 million mobile phones in 2010.

2. Type of devices: Smartphones are expected to become a growing target in 2011, as hackers increasingly view smartphones as well as tablet PCs as a new attack platform. The increasing number of applications that can be downloaded on mobile devices is a contributing factor to this trend.

3. Mobile platforms: Symbian was the most-targeted mobile platform, with 64 percent of all viruses targeting the platform. Android users were affected by approximately 7 percent of the virus attacks and the Android platform is expected to suffer from and increased number of attacks in 2011.

4. Inflection methods: an estimated 75 percent

Founded in October 2005, NetQin is backed by venture capital firms, including two rounds of venture capital investment totaling $15 million in 2007 from GSR, Sequoia, Ceyuan, and Fidelity Asia. 

Threats targeting the fast growing smartphone and tablet markets top the list of cyber concerns in 2011 according to several reports.

Terry Cutler, a Certified Ethical Hacker and regular SecurityWeek contributor, says that more people are flocking to their smartphones and tablets, leaving their notebooks behind and that attackers are certain to try to profit from this trend. “We’re already seeing malware specifically designed to attack mobile devices. Although such malware is not a dire threat now, in the months and years ahead it most certainly will be,” Cutler writes. “While such attacks are specific to mobile phones and some tablets, expect the same types of attacks that have plagued PCs for years to also hit mobile devices—namely, viruses, spyware, worms, and Trojans—designed to snoop, steal, or destroy data.”

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