As more Canadians gravitate to the convenience of online shopping and banking, and continue to adopt Android™ and Apple smartphones, tablets and computers, Trend Micro's (TYO: 4704; TSE: 4704) Q3 2013 Security Roundup Report raises concern on a number of fronts. The ongoing proliferation of Apple phishing sites, the growth in Android malware, and the sizable uptick in malware targeting online banking suggests consumers need to be more careful about the apps they install, and more mindful in protecting personal and financial data.
"With the holiday shopping season about to begin, criminals are rapidly developing tools that no good can come of," said JD Sherry, vice president of technology and solutions, Trend Micro. "Cybercrime thieves are ready to take full advantage of the fact that, while Apple has been traditionally perceived as a safe-haven against threats, our findings show personal information can be jeopardized as phishing scams targeting the platform continue to gain momentum."
After a spike in Q2, Apple-related phishing sites have remained steady throughout Q3. This raises concern of potential new targets in Q4 with analysts estimating Apple to sell 31 million iPhones and 15 million iPads globally in the fourth quarter alone, and sales of Mac computers continuing to grow.
The number of malicious and high-risk Android apps surpassed the 1-million mark in Q3, and a significant portion of these dangerous apps were disguised as either fake or Trojanized versions of popular apps. Trend Micro researchers also identified more than 200,000 malware infections targeting online banking in Q3. Three countries stood out as the most targeted, with the U.S. accounting for almost one-quarter (23%) of online banking malware infections worldwide, followed by Brazil (16%) and Japan (12%).
Android: Canada ranks ninth on the global list of countries with the highest malicious Android app download volumes. The ranking was based on the percentage of apps categorized as "malicious" over the total number of apps scanned per country. Globally, the most common type of threat is "premium service abusers", which send unauthorized text messages to certain numbers and often register users to premium-rate services.
Privacy: Canada also ranks ninth on the global list of top countries at risk of privacy exposure due to app use. The ranking was based on the percentage of apps categorized as "privacy risk inducers" over the total number of apps scanned per country. Protection of Personally Identifying Information (PII) is particularly important with the widespread use of social media applications such as Facebook and Twitter.
Botnets: Canada rounds out the top five countries with the greatest number of botnet connections with the US at 25 percent, Malaysia at 19 followed by Portugal, Russia and Canada, all at four percent. A botnet is a collection of Internet-connected programs communicating with other similar program to send spam email or participate in distributed denial-of-service attacks.
Malicious URLs: Canada only contributes one percent of all Malicious URL country sources—barely making the top ten globally in a category dominated by the U.S. (24 percent), the Netherlands and China (3 percent each). Malicious URLs are embedded in emails and send a user to a specific website that can automatically download malware that can lead to an attack.