Symantec: iOS Threats Double in Twelve Months

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Apple users can no longer be complacent about security, as the almost ceaseless popularity of devices such as the iPhone and iPad is prompting a surge of new threats says new research from Symantec.

In a research posting, Symantec found that the threats stem mainly from cybercrime gangs branching out to Apple platforms, as well as high-level attack groups like the Butterfly corporate espionage team that infected OS X computers in targeted organisations. Making such threats seem even more severe is the fact that Apple device usages is  rocketing: Symantec quoted a Forbes article calculating that three-quarters of purchases made via mobile devices on Black Friday were on iPhones and iPads for example, so this demonstrates a move by cyber-criminals to break into the area.

The research also found that the amount of Apple-targeted infections and new malware threats has increased over the past two years. The Symantec data showed that the number of new Mac OS X threats rose by 15% in 2014, while the number of iOS threats discovered this year has more than doubled, from three in 2014 to seven so far in 2015. Jail-broken devices are the focus of the majority of threats and, of the 13 iOS threats documented by Symantec to date, nine can only infect jail-broken devices.

While the total number of threats targeting Apple devices remains quite low compared to Windows in the desktop space and Android in the mobile sector, Symantec warned that Apple users cannot be complacent. It added that should Apple platforms continue to increase in popularity, the number of cybersecurity threats facing Apple users will likely grow in parallel.

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