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Smartphone malware - something new, something old and something to be scared about

The number of virus/malware infected smartphones doubled in the first half of this year, from 0.25 percent in the second half of 2015 according to a report published by Nokia. Numbers reached 0.49% in June 2016, alarming experts in cyber security.

The rate of infected phones is not only growing, it is accelerating, according to a report by Nokia.

Nokia provides services to detect malware to most major mobile networks worldwide, covering more than 100 million devices.

Android is the most contested device as 74% of infected phones are on variations of Google's OS. The portion of infected iPhone was around 4% and statistics for Windows models is practically within margin errors due to the small market share of the latter.

The remaining 22% were laptops and other mobile devices connected via smartphones.

While the level of contamination among all smartphones had increased, that of PCs continued to decline, according to Kevin McNamee, Nokia's Threat Intelligence Lab director. A distinctive trend is the shift to mobile ransomware. "We are afraid, this trend is long term," said McNamee.

Furthermore, more malware is attempting to penetrate into the core of the phone OS, especially Android's. "It gives them more functionality, he explained - allows the malware to remain permanently in the phone. It can then defend itself against antivirus tools. It can just hide. "

Particularly interesting is the malware called HummingBad, which installs itself via direct download, and "roots" in the device. It then gets access to the Google Play store. "This is a very dangerous situation" he added - It can not only install other malware, but also hide in unexpected places, so the user will not even know that HummingBad had infected the device. "

Another scourge is malware named Viking Horde, which turns the phone into part of a botnet fraud. "It attaches to your phone and resides in the background, having spent its entire existence in ad clicks, paying for each click, explains McNamee - It uses a your network connection and exhausts your monthly allowance in a short time. This thing just constantly surfs the Web on your phone"

So basically, be careful what you download and pay attention to your data use. And as always use a good protection software.

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