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Mobile Malware Market Thriving, APWG Reports

A new report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group [APWG] shines a light on the market for mobile malware.

The report, entitled ‘Mobile Threats and the Underground Marketplace’, outlines a virtual grocery store for cybercriminals interested in targeting Google Android, Apple iOS and other mobile operating systems.

A new report from the Anti-Phishing Working Group [APWG] shines a light on the market for mobile malware.

The report, entitled ‘Mobile Threats and the Underground Marketplace’, outlines a virtual grocery store for cybercriminals interested in targeting Google Android, Apple iOS and other mobile operating systems.

“VirusTotal currently shows 5.6 million reported potentially malicious files for Android (APK,dyn‐calls, checks‐GPS, etc.) of which 1.3 million are confirmed malicious by 2 or more AV vendors,” according to the report. “While there is already an established mobile malware market, now is the time to take stock, to demonstrate the existence of such an industry and how it operates through stealthy intrusion and crime ware supply chains.”

According to the report, among the countries considered high risk for mobile malware are Mexico, China and Brazil. As of March, there were keyloggers found being sold to $400, while mobile malware used for banking theft such as Zitmo and Eurograbber sold for between $10,000 and $30,000.

“The mobile malware black market remains a work‐in‐progress as it continues to develop and evolve according to demand,” the report notes. “Cybercriminals skilfully manipulate the market and maximize the potential from advertising on underground forums and social networking sites.”

The most popular mobile malware available on the market take advantage of a number of key properties, such as jailbroken devices and mobile banking apps that store customers’ credentials in plaintext form.

“The demand for surveillance tools on the underground market is high and may, or may not, include malware,” the report notes. “Essentially, the techniques used are similar on all devices or computers.”

Cyber-criminals also utilize underground partnership programs to monetize mobile malware. SMS plays a large part in these operations and can be distributed across the range of popular operating systems, the report notes.

“Mobile malware marketeers, like their desktop counterparts, are savvy, resourceful, and quick to exploit new technologies, applications and functions as soon as they develop,” according to the report. “The incentive is to cash in on a global mobile payments market expected to exceed $1.3tn by 2017. The growing prosperity of the emerging economies sees Asia driving the mobile market but it would be dangerous to under‐evaluate the influence of both Africa and South America.”

The full report can be read here.

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