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Browser automation. iPhone-havers think they’re safe. But they’re not

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Mobile malware is at the highest level yet recorded, infecting 1.35 per cent of all mobile devices in October, according to a study by Nokia out today. The high water mark in October compares to figures of 1.06 per cent in April 2016.

While Android smartphones and tablets remained the top mobile target (81 per cent), iOS-based devices were also affected, particularly through spyphone applications, in the second half of the last year (4 per cent). Spyphone surveillance software (sometimes marked as spousal or child monitoring tech) tracks a user’s calls, text messages, social media applications, web searches, GPS locations or other activities.

Issued twice per year, Nokia’s Threat Intelligence Report examines general trends and statistics for infections in devices connected through mobile and fixed networks around the world. The figures come from deployments of the Nokia NetGuard Endpoint Security (NES) network-based anti-malware kit. Windows/PC systems accounted for 15 per cent of malware infections in the second half of 2016, down from 22 per cent in the first half of the year.

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While moderate threat level adware activity decreased in the second half of 2016, high-level threats (eg, bots, rootkits, keyloggers and banking Trojans) remained steady at approximately 6 per cent.

Separately security firm Skycure reports that 71 per cent of mobile devices remain highly susceptible to breaches because they are two months or more behind on the latest patches. Six per cent of devices run patches that are six or more months old. The figure is based on an analysis of the patch updates among the five leading wireless carriers in the US. Skycure reports a six-fold increase in mobile malware infections between Q1 2016 and Q4 2016.

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Almost half of Android vulnerabilities logged last year allowed excessive privileges, while others allowed other bad effects, like leakage of information, corrupted memory, or arbitrary code execution. ®

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