When the first cell phone virus was demonstrated, by Brazilian software engineer Marcos Velasco, no one perhaps though that mobile malware would one day become a great threat to mobile phone security. Marcos Velasco created the virus to educate the public about virus threats; he’d perhaps have foreseen the future scenario when he made the virus!
It was in July 2004 that Cabir, a proof-of-concept virus, was developed by Vallez, who was part of the 9A group of virus writers. Cabir soon had other variants, which were used for malicious purposes as well. Well, that was just the beginning. The history of mobile malware took off from there and over the years the number of malware designed to affect mobile devices went on increasing. In just 12 years, we have arrived at a point when we look forward to having 20 million mobile malware by the end of the current year. Laudable achievement, you should say if you are in the mood for appreciating the efforts put in by programmers who specialize in malicious software!
Well, just think about it! 20 million malware detection done by the end of the year? Doesn’t that mean that a hacker sitting in some other part of the world could simply take control of your phone and do whatever mischief he wants? He could get into your contact list and contact people on the list and do them sufficient harm; he could impersonate you on Whatsapp and communicate with anyone in your contact list; he could steal your personal data and use that to rob you of your money. What more, it has even been proved that a hacker could even use a mobile phone camera to spy on the phone user, that too without his knowledge. That’s it. The scenario is rather grim. It becomes even more complicated when BYOD has sort of become a trend and mobile devices this become part of organizational networks too. Mobile Threat Management has to be accorded top priority today.
Most security experts would state that the need of the hour would be to blend traditional Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and Mobile Device Management (MDM) with Mobile Application Management (MAM) to develop well-planned and comprehensive Mobile Threat Management solutions. On the individual level, users could go for cloud-based Mobile Threat Management software which would scan the traffic from and to mobile devices, block malicious/suspicious content and protect against malware attacks, without effective the overall performance of the device. At the same time, users need to ensure that they don’t let in malware by clicking on unwanted links or by installing apps which don’t come from trusted sources.
It could only be a joint effort, put in together by security experts all across the globe and every individual or organization handling mobile devices, that would work towards mitigating and combating mobile malware threats.