2016 / 18 June

15 Key Findings: Hackers Are In Love With Your Smartphone!


If you like keeping your head buried in the sand with it comes to cyber security, then you probably don’t want to read the Symantec’s 2015 Internet Security Threat Report.

At BluStor PMC, we’re on the frontline of developing innovative solutions to combat cyber security risks, but I’ll admit, things are far worse than even I suspected.

You might want to take a second look at your mobile devices and consider what could be lurking under the covers.

The 120 page report from Symantec is full of some fascinating and rather frightening statistics but here are a few of the  key take-aways:

  • Symantec found that 17 percent of all Android apps (nearly one million total) were actually malware in disguise.
  • Grayware apps, which aren’t malicious by design but do annoying and inadvertently harmful things like track user behaviour, accounted for 36 percent of all mobile apps.
  • In total, the top five zero-days of 2014 were actively exploited by attackers for a combined 295 days before patches were available.
  • The number of breaches increased 23 percent in 2014. Attackers were responsible for the majority of these breaches.
  • Ransomware attacks grew 113 percent in 2014, along with 45 times more crypto-ransomware attacks.
  • Of the 6.3 million mobile apps analyzed in 2014, one million of these were classified as malware, while 2.3 million were classified as grayware.
  • There were 168 mobile vulnerabilities disclosed in 2014, a 32 percent increase compared to 2013.
  • Attackers are using increasingly wellcrafted malware that displays sophisticated software engineering and professionalism.
  • According to a survey carried out by Symantec, 57 percent of respondents are worried their data is not safe.
  • For the fourth year in a row, the healthcare sector reported the largest number of data breaches.
  • Real names, government ID numbers, and home addresses were the top three types of information breached in 2014. The exposure of financial information grew from 17.8 percent to 35.5 percent in 2014, the largest increase within the top 10 list of information types exposed.
  • 1 in 3 consumers admitted they provide false information in order to protect their privacy.
  • The number of new malware variants grew by 317,256,956 in 2014—a 26 percent increase compared with 2013.
  • Criminals use malware to encrypt the data on victims’ hard drives— family pictures, homework, music, that unfinished novel—and demand payment to unlock the files.
  • Virtualization is no protection against malware. Increasingly, malware can detect whether it is running on a virtual machine and, instead of quitting, it can change its behavior to reduce the risk of detection.

Cyber security is a complex and rapidly evolving area of technology.  But one thing is clear, better solutions are desperately needed and I’m about to make a shameless plug for our own company. We believe the elimination of traditional usernames, passwords, and pins is a critical need in the war against cyber crime. The solution is multi-factor biometrics.

BluStor’s CyberGate solution is a credit-card sized platform that enables seamless multi-factor biometric authentication combined with a tremendous amount of secured data storage for your most sensitive information. And because it can readily integrate with mobile phones, laptops, desktops, existing smart card readers, and virtually any device that supports Bluetooth or NFC, adoption is easy and painless.  If you’re curious and want to know more, stay tuned and follow me here on LinkedIn or drop me a comment.

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You can also find me on twitter at @NewFrontierCIO for more commentary on the frontiers of technology, leadership, space exploration, and science.


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