2increasingAccording to eMarketer’s latest forecast, mobile is making inroads in digital ad spending throughout the world and mobile internet ad spending is growing in each and every region. Overall the company predicts that a greater share of all digital dollars will go towards mobile each year, claiming that by 2017, 36.3% of digital ad spending around the world will go towards mobile formats, up from just 4.6% as recently as 2011.

These are fantastic news for all digital marketers, but for cybercriminals it opens up countless new opportunities as well. Right now, for instance, Android seems to be cybercriminals’ number one target.

G DATA SecurityLabs recent mobile malware report revealed that there have been almost 520,000 new malicious files for the operating system in the first half of 2013 alone. The perpetrators in particular make use of the wide range of Trojan horses to attract users to their malicious code trap.

With the development of malicious apps, the criminals pin their hopes on a complex spoofing of the malicious code as well to hinder analyses as much as possible and hide harmful functions.

Another trend is the increasing use of special malware kits, so that even inexperienced offenders can easily become data thieves. For the second half of the year, G Data expects Android menace to grow by three times and assumes that the perpetrators aim more long-term attacks.

More and more of the malicious apps, discovered by the G Data SecurityLabs, were provided with a complex program code in disguise, making manual and automatic analysis difficult. The perpetrators start to rely more on longer-term patterns of attack, which means the criminals hide malicious software in the manipulated apps, so that users can’t discover the flaws easily and then remove the application. That way, the malicious app is active much longer on the infected mobile device and can contribute to make money with premium services or steal personal data, depending on the objective.

Fact is that the number of new malicious files increased by 180% compared to the second half of 2012 and the number of malware families doubled to 454, while 86% of the classified malicious files have been Trojan horses, according to G Data SecurityLabs.

In a nutshell, eCrime trends for the coming months are:

  • Triplication of the number of new Android malware files: Similar to the growing popularity of smartphones and tablets running Google's operating system, the number of new malicious files will continue to rise. Experts at G Data Security Labs expect here a triplication in the second half of 2013.
  • Growing popularity of malicious code kits: The development and sale of malware kits will remain a lucrative eCrime trend in the second half of this year, because even the most inexperienced offenders can easily turn into cybercriminals that way and sell the prey profitably in underground markets or make profit with expensive premium services.
  • Increasing masking of malicious apps: The damaging functions in manipulated apps are increasingly disguised - both in program code to complicate analysis, as well as in the functionality of the application – making it more difficult for users to detect and remove malicious apps. That way, criminals can spy on users and their mobile devices much longer and exploit them for unauthorized purposes.

By Daniela La Marca