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Mobile malware is a reality says Kaspersky

Speaking at Kaspersky Lab's recent analyst summit, Maslennikov said that the first piece of mobile malware using the internet dates back to 2004, when a Ukrainian hacker developed the code.

Cybercriminals, he said, then lost interest in these types of programmes, until quite recently 35% of all detected smartphone malware was tracked as operating via the internet.

There is, he says, a perfectly logical explanation for this: smartphones are becoming increasingly popular. "In 2009, the share of the worldwide mobile phone market - accounted for by the sale of smartphones - stood at 14.2%, and according to Gartner, a respected technology research company, it is expected that this growth will continue up to 18.6% [in 2014]", he said.

According to the Kaspersky security researcher, a significant reduction in the cost of the mobile internet has made it more accessible to the wider public - and, as a result, lots of mobile devices are now connected to the mobile web.

In practice, he explained, this means cybercriminals have yet more resources to exploit.

Maslennikov went on to say that new mobile malware boasts a broad range of functionality, including the capability to download other malicious files, detect internet connections or establish new ones, undertake URL redirection and carry out phishing attacks.

Research by Kaspersky Lab, he said, has shown that botnets built using infected mobile devices will become more like standard botnets, i.e. they can send spam, steal passwords en masse, carry out DDoS attacks on mobiles, etc.

In his presentation, Maslennikov noted that malware for mobiles will become increasingly complex and operating system specific, whilst computer users will become ever more reliant on their mobile devices as they gradually usurp the place of desktops.

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