We’re already aware of the glum state of cyber security across the interwebs and the flooded landscape of devices, including everything from mobile phones and laptops to smart speakers or security cameras. The lack of stringent security measures has made these highly vulnerable and the same has been confirmed in Nokia’s latest Threat Intelligence Report.
The report shines a light on the surprisingly massive 400 percent increase in smartphone malware attacks in 2016, which saw a steady increase throughout the year. The malware strikes against mobile devices also peaked to an all-time high level of 1.35 percent of mobile devices in October — highest since the inception of this report in 2012.
Further, smartphones were primary targets in the second half of the year where it accounted for 85 percent of all mobile infections. It was also witnessed that Android devices remain primary targets as compared to iOS ones. Though Apple’s iOS devices (iPhone or iPad) suffered attacks in the second half of 2016, it still reflects the prevalence of Google’s operating system worldwide (80+ percent market share). Nokia’s report also removes the veil from the tool — Spyphone surveillance software — being used to track iOS users’ calls, text messages, web searches, location data and other applications.
But one step ahead of smartphones, there are Internet of Things (IoT) devices. In 2016, they were the center of attraction for hackers. The Threat Intelligence Report also exposed the growing number of major vulnerabilities in smart home devices, security cameras, as well as any other device connected to the internet and controlled via an app on the mobile phone.
The report also talks about the ever-growing threat from the botnet army of compromised devices, called Mirai, which have been used to carry out three massive attacks last year. The attacks on major OVH service, security researcher Krebs, and others have called upon industry professionals to rethink the security capabilities of IoT devices. It has underscored the urgent need for robust deployment of strategies to protect devices from future attacks and exploitation.
Talking about the increasing threat to IoT devices, Kevin McNamee, head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab, said:
The security of IoT devices has become a major concern. The Mirai botnet attacks last year demonstrated how thousands of unsecured IoT devices could easily be hijacked to launch crippling DDoS attacks. As the number and types of IoT devices continue to proliferate, the risks will only increase.
In addition, the malware attacks on Windows devices accounted for over 15 percent in the second half of 2016, down from 22 percent in the first half of the year. This shows that Windows 10 is bolstering its security measures with each major update helping users better secure their systems. The monthly infection rate for fixed broadband networks is also on the decline, and averaged 10.7 percent in the second half of previous year. The first half witnessed an average 12 percent infection rate in the first half.
The Nokia Threat Intelligence Report examines the general trends and provides a brief analysis report about infections in devices that are connected to the interwebs through mobile or fixed networks across the world. Published twice a year, this report aggregates data from deployments of the company’s NetGuard Endpoint Security (NES) network-based anti-malware solution. It is said to analyze the traffic patterns from within ISPs for “evidence of malware infections in more than 100 million devices worldwide.”