Malware can also be downloaded through fake websites when a user clicks on a URL that appears authentic but is not.
Mobile users can also be duped through so-called "smishing" -- a combination of the words SMS and phishing -- where a user receives a text message asking for personal information like a credit card number, e-mail address or social security number.
Android's malware not limited to bad apps
Stels, an Android trojan delivered via fake U.S. Internal Revenue Service-themed emails, uses "an Android crimeware kit to steal sensitive information from the device," and also makes calls to premium numbers. Sullivan said the new threat “could be a game changer.”
Users on any mobile platform, including iOS, can be targeted with spam that directs them to malware websites. However, while previous exploits have been demonstrated to allow a visited website to crack the security on iOS to "jailbreak" the device, Apple has been vigilant about patching these flaws and distributing iOS updates that scuttle the profitability of discovered threats, effectively frustrating the malware business on iOS.
Here’s Symantec’s breakdown of the types of mobile threat it identified last year, with information theft being the most common threat. Add in user tracking and more than fifty per cent of the mobile malware identified was trying to steal user info or track their movements:
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