Smartphone infections rise 400 percent in 2016 as mobile becomes key target

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Mobile is emerging as a key battleground for cyber security as new figures from Nokia revealed a 400 percent increase in smartphone infections in 2016.

The Threat Intelligence Report by Nokia found that there was a 63 percent increase in infections across mobile networks in the second half of last year.

In total, 1.35 percent of all mobile devices were infected as of October 2016, the highest recorded level since Nokia began the study in 2012. This was an increase from 1.06 percent in April 2016.

The report found smartphones accounting for 85 percent of infections. The Android operating system accounted for 81 percent of malware attacks on smartphones, compared to four percent on iOS and other mobile devices.

Nokia’s report also highlighted the growing security risk of the Internet of Things, with the capture of poorly protected IoT devices by the Mirai malware and their subsequent use in large scale botnet attacks showing the dangers.

[Read more: IoT security risks have reached boiling point, claims new report]

However, the report found a decline in infections across fixed networks, with the infection rate in residential fixed broadband networks falling from 12 percent in the first half of 2016 to 10.7 percent.

Kevin McNamee, Head of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab, said: "The security of IoT devices has become a major concern. The Mirai botnet attacks last year demonstrated how thousands of unsecured IoT devices could easily be hijacked to launch crippling DDoS attacks."

The report aggregated data from deployments of Nokia’s NetGuard Endpoint Security (NES) in over 100 million devices including mobile phones, laptops, notepads and IoT devices.