Mobile Malware Remains Rare in North America
Security firms find mobile malware does not currently pose a significant threat. Many factors make malware a rare occurrence on mobile devices, Damballa said.San Francisco—A combination of gated mobile app stores, significant controls, vetting by Apple and Google, and a lack of good monetization strategies have made malware a rare occurrence on mobile devices in North America, network security firm Damballa reported here at the RSA Conference. Working with anonymous data captured from the large cellular providers that use its services, Damballa identified traffic that came from more than 152 million mobile devices in a given week, which contacted nearly 2.8 million Internet sites. Of those devices, only 64 out of every million devices, or 0.0064 percent, contacted a malicious mobile Website, according to the company's research. For security firms that have declared mobile malware an increasing threat, the new data suggests otherwise, said Brian Foster, chief technology officer for Damballa. "Don't make this year the 'Year of Mobile Malware,' because you will be wrong," he told eWEEK.
As mobile devices became more popular, antivirus firms moved their core host-based threat detection software, the malware scanner, to mobile devices, but threats continue to be low. Through its gated software ecosystem and closed devices, Apple has successfully protected users from mass malware attacks. Over the years, the Android platform had a few significant incidents, but potentially harmful applications (PHAs)—essentially a superset that includes malware—affects less than 1 percent of Android users in North America and many other parts of the world, according to Google's State of Android Security report.