Security Market Segment LS
Sunday, 18 December 2016 12:56

Mobile devices are the new attack vector


While Android phones and tablets are the primary mobile attack vector, iOS is more than ever a target – Symantec found nine new iOS threat families back in 2015.

iOS is a somewhat safer OS as Apple maintains a tight control over its app store and operating system but that does not stop those that use bootleg software loaded on jailbroken devices – a familiar issue in many Asian and emerging nations. According to a Symantec report issued in April, XcodeGhost ripped through jailbroken devices via around 4000 infected apps including the popular WeChat.

The same report says iOS was also attacked via YiSpectre malware that managed to bypass Apple’s vetting by using the Enterprise app provisioning framework. Youmi also snuck into the store embedded in 256 legitimate iOS apps serving up unwanted advertising and sending personal information to C&C servers without consent.

But Android is still the easiest mark with around 90% of the global market. While the number of malware families dropped, the number of variants skyrockets 77% to 3944. While the number of reported vulnerabilities dropped (as the OS matures) the number of zero-day vulnerabilities discovered increased 125% to 54. Norton by Symantec has addressed this via a substantial update to Norton Mobile Security for Android.

The Android version of Norton’s antivirus/malware software provides the base level malware security but adds:

  • App scanning to identify malware, adware and privacy leakage risks (Norton Mobile Insight);
  • Blocks unwanted call and text messages (spam);
  • Remote locks lost devices;
  • Wipes data on lost devices;
  • Locks the device if a SIM card is removed;
  • Takes a photo of anyone using a stolen device;
  • Provides an audible alarm to help find a device;
  • Pinpoints lost devices on a map;
  • Adds its excellent safe website protection; and
  • Backs up contact information.

“More than ever before consumers are increasingly faced with privacy and security threats for their personal data,” said Mark Gorrie, director, Norton Business Unit, Pacific Region, Symantec. “Norton Mobile Security has been carefully designed to empower consumers to seamlessly protect their personal data from potential privacy vulnerabilities, anywhere, anytime.”

Mobile apps can access and control an ever-increasing amount of personal data and content stored on mobile phones, including photos and videos, health records and financial information. Today, hackers are enhancing their skills and hiding malware inside applications to steal personal information and profit. Since January 2016, Norton by Symantec has identified 6,464,472 new malware apps and 5,741,834 new pieces of greyware – apps with potential privacy issues or intrusive behaviours.

The new Report Card feature gives Android users a 360-degree view of their mobile device’s security and privacy status, helping them take control of and overcome potential mobile threats and privacy risks. Via the enhanced Privacy Report users can see where mobile apps are sending their photos and other personal information.

It also offers an easy-to-understand list of potential privacy vulnerabilities, like past unsecured Wi-Fi connections, so users can understand what data might be at risk. The solution’s integration with Norton Safe Search and Web Protection protects users from visiting malware-infected sites and blocks phishing websites helping to protect Android devices from sites that can install ransomware, Trojans and other threats.

It also protects users by displaying a website’s safety and shopping ratings before a user visits the site.

In the event a device is lost or stolen, Norton Mobile Security for Android also includes anti-theft capabilities and contacts backup to help users find their device and restore lost information.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!



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