India is under the grip of cyber attacks, if a report by Quick Heal is to be believed. According to the report, the country has witnessed an increase of almost 90 percent in Windows malware and there has been a mind-boggling increase of 170 percent in malware modifications. The mischief makers are also winning the war on the mobile platform. Virus attacks in the mobile space are rising rapidly, with a 30 percent growth registered in 2012 and an 80 percent increase in its modifications.
While desktop computers are still the major target for malware authors, the report states that there is an obvious peak in the growth of malware and modifications on mobile devices, especially on Android. The Quick Heal Annual Windows and Mobile Malware Report, 2012, released by Quick Heal Technologies, states that there has been a persistent increase in the number of malware attacks on Android devices and apps have become the easiest way to compromise devices.
Persistent increase in malware on Android platform (Image credit: Getty Images)
Social engineering, according to the report, still remains one of the most coveted ways to spread malware. Cyber criminals continue to use it as a convenient way to exploit human behaviour and platform vulnerabilities.
Commenting on the findings of the research, Sanjay Katkar, Technical Director and CTO, Quick Heal Technologies, said, “Windows is still the most attacked operating system. 2012 saw numerous attacks that were devised for Windows vulnerabilities. Cyber criminals have leveraged zero-day exploits even more effectively with new software patterns and business models”. He added, “The web is still the most conventional way of targeting victims and our efforts should be driven to educate the end users and create awareness.”
On a related note, ESET recently pointed out that viruses and worms spreading through flash drives and the rise in malware targeting Android were the main trends of the malware landscape in India in 2013. As per ESET's 2011 report, malware for mobile phones was marked a main trend for 2012. This time, the researchers focused on malware for Android OS as the market share of Android mobile phones has been increasing dramatically.
During the first quarter of 2012, according to IDC statistics, Android recorded a year-over-year rise of 145 percent in market share. Furthermore, Juniper, in its whitepaper “Banking Anytime Anywhere” estimates that in 2013, the number of users accessing banking services from their smartphones will rise to 530 million. According to the same study, in 2011, there were only 300 million individuals who accessed banks from their phones.
“There are over 27 million smartphone users in India, according to different estimations. Though it comes to about only 3 percent of total mobile phone users in the country, we see the huge growth of smartphones’ usage. Moreover, even the majority of cheap handsets run Android. Although we didn’t register many cases of Android malware in India, compared to some other countries, once Indians start actively using their mobiles for online shopping, banking, etc. the picture will change immediately,” said Pankaj Jain, Director at ESET India.