Encountering Mobile Threats Extremely Low in U.S., Security Firm Finds


A new study of the threats to smartphone and tablet users has found that despite a steady increase in mobile threats globally, the chance of device owners in the United States of encountering them is extremely low.

The biggest threat to U.S. mobile device owners is adware, with 1.6 percent encountering the issue, according to Lookout Mobile Security. Mobile applications that collect information about individuals without their consent or display ads in the notification tray or other location on the device without the device owner's approval is considered adware by Lookout.

"Adware dominates detections in all countries, due to a lack of clear guidelines for what is acceptable for mobile advertising and higher payouts for unscrupulous advertising methods," Lookout said.
"Chargeware, applications that sneakily charge users without making it clear, comes in second place behind adware in most countries."

[Related: Top 5 Android Malware Threats]

The San Francisco-based security firm's study, released today, analyzed mobile threats that it cataloged from Jan. 1 to May 16. It looked at the detection rate of each threat that new Lookout users encounter over the first seven days of use of its security app. It then used a formula that incorporates its entire user base to estimate the likelihood of encountering mobile dangers.

Malware, such as spyware and Trojans that secretly steal data from device owners, affects an estimated 0.2 percent of U.S. mobile users. Mobile apps that appear legitimate but steal contact information and other data in the background are encountered by 0.5 percent of new Lookout users, the mobile security firm said.

NEXT: Threats Higher In Other Parts Of The World