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


Security firms that have been collecting data on threats to mobile users have consistently said that the dangers increase in other regions of the world. Security experts agree that the dangers threaten users of Google's Android platform the most. The highest detection rates of malicious applications, adware and other attacks targeting mobile users is in Asia and Eastern Europe. Mobile threats are steadily rising and spreading to other areas including Italy, India and Australia, according to security firm McAfee.

Lookout's study analyzed users in India, where it found the chance of encountering a mobile threat at more than 5 percent, with the majority of the potential issues being adware. Lookout said several adware variants that specifically target gaming apps have been frequently detected in the region.

"The specific prevalence of mobile threats varies across a broad spectrum that ranges from irritating to dangerous," Lookout said.

A serious threat frequently encountered by security firms are SMS Trojans that accrue premium rate text messaging charges without the user's consent. In the U.S., the Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on SMS-related spam and potentially malicious activity. Lookout worked with Cloudmark to uncover the SpamSoldier Android botnet in December. The botnet had the capability to turn an Android device into a botnet, stealthily sending out hundreds of SMS messages to contacts.

Germany holds the title for the highest risk of encountering an SMS Trojan or a malicious application designed to steal contacts and other sensitive data. Trojans affect 0.78 percent of mobile owners, Lookout said. The SMS problem has the least impact in Japan, where premium SMS charges are not supported, Lookout said. Adware is the biggest problem there, the security firm said.

PUBLISHED ON JUNE 5, 2013