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article imageNokia: Android smartphones biggest malware target in 2017

By James Walker     Nov 16, 2017 in Technology
Android smartphones accounted for the majority of malware attacks over the past year, behind devices running Windows. The figures come from Nokia's Threat Intelligence Lab which warned more needs to be done to keep mobile users secure.
69 percent of all devices infected over the past year ran a version of Android as their operating system. Although this is a reduction from last year's 74 percent, it suggests mobile users are still the most at risk from cyberattacks. Third-party app stores are the most significant harbour of threats so Android users should stick to the Google Play Store wherever possible.
Nokia also found that infections of Windows PCs have increased during 2017. The notable rise to 28 percent of infections – compared with 22 percent last year – has been partially attributed to a rash of ransomware campaigns. Wannacry had a particularly devastating impact over the summer, infecting over 230,000 computers and shutting down operations at several businesses and government organisations.
Nokia's Threat Intelligence Lab said the outbreak should serve as an important lesson to IT administrators. Wannacry relied on Windows vulnerabilities that had already been patched by Microsoft before the attack was released. In many cases, the patches had not yet been installed. This should be a reminder of the need to "proactively" secure networked devices as the threat from developing malware types becomes more severe.
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"Wannacry was responsible for one of the largest ransomware attacks of all time earlier this year, infecting over 230,000 computers in 150 countries," said Nokia. "While security patches were available prior to the attack, they were not deployed in many cases, underscoring the need for a new class of management solutions to ensure all vulnerable network devices are securely configured and patched proactively."
Adware is another form of malware that's become more advanced over the past twelve months. Adware is getting "increasingly aggressive" on mobile platforms. It's gaining the ability to display ads across the operating system and block removal attempts. "Misbehaving" applications which abuse permissions, waste battery life or steal sensitive data are also a threat to mobile users.
The report comes after Nokia announced its new NetGuard Security Management Center to help administrators connect and monitor networked devices. According to Nokia, 70 percent of security alerts are never followed up, either due to lack of awareness or constrained resources. NetGuard offers a centralised window into a network's security status, helping IT teams stay on top of emerging issues. Platforms such as this help enterprises lockdown their mobile devices and will be integral to the success of the Internet of Things.
More about Android, Smartphone, Smartphones, Cybersecurity, Malware