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Nokia report reveals increased device infection

Report finds that mobile device malware infection rates increased steadily in 2016, reaching an all-time high

Risks will only increase as the number and types of IoT devices proliferates
Risks will only increase as the number and types of IoT devices proliferates

Nokia’s latest Threat Intelligence Report has exposed major vulnerabilities in the rapidly expanding universe of IoT devices. It also reveals a new all-time high in mobile device malware infections and a sharp increase in compromised smartphones.


Issued twice per year, the Nokia Threat Intelligence Report examines general trends and statistics for infections in devices connected through mobile and fixed networks around the world.


The latest report revealed a steady increase in mobile device infections throughout 2016, with malware striking 1.35 percent of all mobile devices in October, the highest level seen since reporting started in 2012.


The report also revealed a surge of nearly 400 percent in smartphone malware attacks in 2016. Smartphones were the most-targeted devices in the second half of the year, accounting for 85 per cent of all mobile device infections.


While Android-based smartphones and tablets continued to be the primary targets, reflecting the prevalence of the operating system worldwide, iOS-based devices also suffered attacks in the second half of the year, primarily by Spyphone surveillance software that tracks users’ calls, text messages, social media applications, web searches, GPS locations and other activities.


The IoT vulnerabilities highlighted in the report underscore the need for the industry to re-evaluate its IoT deployment strategies to ensure these devices are securely configured, managed and monitored, said Nokia.


"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 Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks,” said Kevin McNamee, head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab.


He added: “As the number and types of IoT devices continue to proliferate, the risks will only increase. Nokia’s network-based security can help address this growing threat by detecting activity before a DDoS attack occurs, enabling service providers to take corrective actions that mitigate the impact."


The Nokia Threat Intelligence Report aggregates data from deployments of the Nokia NetGuard Endpoint Security (NES) network-based anti-malware solution. NES analyses traffic patterns from within service provider networks for evidence of malware infections in more than 100 million devices worldwide, including mobile phones, laptops, notepads and a broad range of IoT devices.


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