“I got 99 problems but mobile malware ain’t one”: Verizon’s verdict


The latest Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) from telco giant Verizon has argued that mobile devices are not a preferred vector in data breaches, among other interesting findings.

The 70 page behemoth is a refreshing read, written as it is in a relatively informal style and not the insomnia-inducing texts of competitors. Hence the title for the DBIR mobile section – “I Got 99 Problems and Mobile Malware Isn’t Even 1% of Them”.

One interesting fact came in the location of malware; Android is the most popular device for malware attacks, not surprisingly, but Verizon notes through its data that most suspicious activity logged from iOS devices were just failed Android exploits.

Stripping through the data, the researchers note how only 0.03% of smartphones per week, out of tens of millions of devices on the Verizon network, were infected with “higher-grade” malicious code, as opposed to what Verizon calls ‘adnoyance-ware’.

“Mobile devices are not a theme in our breach data, nor are they a theme in our partners’ breach and security data,” the report argues. “We feel safe saying that while a major carrier is looking for and monitoring the security of mobile devices on its network, data breaches involving mobile devices should not be in any top-whatever list.

“This report is filled with thousands of stories of data loss – as it has been for years – and rarely do those stories include a smartphone,” it adds.

Notably, looking at data over a six month period, 95% of the malware types showed up for less than a month, while four out of five didn’t last beyond a week. Verizon notes most of these ephemeral attacks come through short-lived popularity of certain games and apps.

This alternate view, that Android mobile malware is not as big a problem as feared, is one Enterprise AppsTech readers will be familiar with. At Mobile World Congress in March Ciaran Bradley, SVP solutions and innovation at Adaptive Mobile, argued most infection factors are users looking through file sharing sites for a free lunch, and subsequently getting whacked.

You can find more on the Verizon DBIR report here.


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