Juniper Networks @ Sunnyvale, CA
Image by DIKESH.com via Flickr

In study commissioned by Juniper Networks the study found that enterprise and consumer mobile devices are being exposed to a record number of security threats.

The study’s key findings Include:

  • App Store Anxiety: The single greatest distribution point for mobile malware is application download, yet the vast majority of Smartphone users are not employing an antivirus solution on their mobile device to scan for malware
  • Wi-Fi Worries: Mobile devices are increasingly susceptible to Wi-Fi attacks, including applications that enable an attacker to easily log into victim email and social networking applications
  • The Text Threat: 17 percent of all reported infections were due to SMS Trojans that sent SMS messages to premium rate numbers, often at irretrievable cost to the user or enterprise
  • Device Loss and Theft: 1 in 20 Juniper customer devices were lost or stolen, requiring locate, lock or wipe commands to be issued
  • Risky Teen Behavior: 20 percent of all teens admit sending inappropriate or explicit material from a mobile device
  • “Droid Distress”: The number of Android malware attacks increased 400 percent since Summer 2010

“These findings reflect a perfect storm of users who are either uneducated on or disinterested in security, downloading readily available applications from unknown and unvetted sources in the complete absence of mobile device security solutions,” said Dan Hoffman, chief mobile security evangelist at Juniper Networks.

“App store processes of reactively removing applications identified as malicious after they have been installed by thousands of users is insufficient as a means to control malware proliferation. There are specifics steps users must take to mitigate mobile attacks. Both enterprises and consumers alike need to be aware of the growing risks associated with the convenience of having the Internet in the palm of your hand.”

“The last 18 months have produced a non-stop barrage of newsworthy threat events, and while most had been aimed at traditional desktop computers, hackers are now setting their sights on mobile devices. Operating system consolidation and the massive and growing installed base of powerful mobile devices is tempting profit-motivated hackers to target these devices”, Jeff Wilson, principle analyst, Security at Infonetics Research.

“In a recent survey of large businesses, we found that nearly 40 percent considered smartphones the device type posing the largest security threat now. Businesses need security tools that provide comprehensive protection: from the core of the network to the diverse range of endpoints that all IT shops are now forced to manage and secure.”

The study specifically reports the following:-

  • 400 percent increase in Android malware since summer 2010
  • 1 in 20 mobile devices was lost or stolen, requiring locate, lock, or wipe commands
  • 20% of all teens admit sending inappropriate or explicit pictures or videos of themselves from a mobile device
  • 61% of Juniper Networks-detected malware infections are from spyware
  • 17% of Juniper Networks-detected mobile malware infections are from SMS Trojans
  • Mobile malware grew 250% from 2009 to 2010
  • 1 in 20 mobile devices is lost or stolen, risking loss of confidential and sensitive data.
  • 83% of teens use mobile technology to stay connected with friends and family.
  • 20% of all teens have been cyberbullied through a mobile device.
  • 20% of all teens admit to sending inappropriate or explicit pictures or videos of themselves from a mobile device.
  • 20% of teens admit to having sent inappropriate or explicit pictures or videos from their cell phones
  • 39% of teens admit to sending sexually suggestive messages from their device
  • 29% of teens admit that they are sending suggestive messages, or inappropriate and explicit pictures or videos to someone they have never met
  • 44% of teens admit that it is common for suggestive messages that were received to be shared with someone else

The study recommends the following: 

For Consumers:

  • Install an on-device anti-malware solution to protect against malicious applications, spyware, infected SD cards, and malware-based attacks on the device
  • Use an on-device personal firewall to protect device interfaces
  • Require robust password protection for device access
  • Implement anti-spam software to protect against unwanted voice and SMS/MMS communications
  • For parents, use device usage monitoring software to oversee and control pre-adult mobile device usage and protect against cyberbullying, cyberstalking, exploitative or inappropriate usage, and other threats

For Enterprises, Government agencies and SMBs:

  • Employ on-device anti-malware to protect against malicious applications, spyware, infected SD cards and malware-based attacks against the mobile device
  • Use SSL VPN clients to effortlessly protect data in transit and ensure appropriate network authentication and access rights
  • Centralize locate and remote lock, wipe, backup and restore facilities for lost and stolen devices
  • Strongly enforce security policies, such as mandating the use of strong PINs/Passcodes
  • Leverage tools to help monitor device activity for data leakage and inappropriate use
  • Centralize mobile device administration to enforce and report on security policies

For further details, click here

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