Trend Micro released its quarterly report for the first part of 2012 and it turns out that this year cybercriminals have focused their efforts mostly on schemes that target mobile device owners, particularly Android users.
While 2011 was considered the year of the hacktivists, 2012 may be the year of mobile malware. At the end of last year, many security experts said that mobile threats would increase in 2012 and those predictions seem to be coming true.
Trend Micro has already identified 5,000 malicious Android apps, one-click billing fraud schemes and fake applications that hide malicious elements being the most prevalent.
“One big reason for the popularity of apps is their ease of use. Browsing the net on your mobile phone is not the same experience as doing it on a laptop. The key thing to remember is to think before you give an app access to your data. If you have any doubts about giving oversensitive information, just don’t do it,” Senior Threat Researcher Robert McArdle said.
Advanced persistent threats (APTs) have also left their mark on the first quarter. In these types of attacks, cybercriminals take their time to go deep into the targeted network and cause damage.
Two campaigns stood out: the LuckyCat campaign, active since June 2011, and the LURID/Enfal campaign which relied on emails mostly related to the topic of Tibet.
Hoaxes and scams that circulate via email and social networking sites can’t be neglected. The large number of individuals that utilize Facebook, Twitter, and more recently, Pinterest, are all tempting targets for scammers and cybercrooks that use the data from social media sites to launch social engineering attacks.
Vulnerabilities that expose computing systems are also worth mentioning, one of the more significant ones being the flaw in the Remote Desktop Protocol used by Windows systems.
When it comes to pieces of malware, ransomware occupies a leading position, the countries most affected by the phenomenon being US, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Taiwan, Australia and Hungary.