The threat of malware and botnets for mobile phones could become as much of a problem as they are for PCs.
Denis Maslennikov, mobile research group manager and senior analyst at Kaspersky Lab, pointed at threats such as the ‘brother' and ‘Ikee' worms and said that it was now seeing 30 developments a month in mobile malware, and 35 per cent of malware is now designed to infect mobile internet.
He said: “This threat will not go away, and the reasons for the whole internet based malware appearance is that new technologies will be the future. A mobile botnet will have the same impact as a simple PC botnet. They will be able to send SMS, MMS, Google spam and mask passwords and maybe provide telephone DDoS attacks.
“Imagine a big organisation and they have four main telephone numbers, and the competitor does not want to work honestly and decides to do bad things such as a telephone DDoS. Imagine all of the smartphones all started to dial four numbers, and will always be busy so users will have no chance to dial and the company will not be able to do anything.”
Asked about the specific threats for mobiles, Maslennikov told SC Magazine that the threats are more web-based and are mainly Trojans. He said: “Cyber criminals try to mask applications to download software, so when people use computers for downloading software for mobile, that is how we detect Trojan programmes.
“It is coming from sites with free software for smartphones that is optimised for mobiles. Browsing is cheaper and people have started to browse more actively, but are we more secure on a mobile phone? No, I don't think so. Sometimes it is less secure because people are not aware, threats are less than PC malware but a lack of knowledge means that they are more trustworthy to different sources of information and our aim is to inform that threats are real. Please pay attention.”
Looking to the future, Maslennikov said that as the first period of mobile evolution was in 2005/6, now we are seeing commercialised mobile malware. He said: “The next step will be a mobile malware industry and we will see mobile DDoS attacks, mobile malware attacks, mobile phishing attacks and they will be pretty powerful. Maybe we will see migration of internet-based mobile malware from smartphone to mobile phone.”