McAfee has released the Threats Report: Fourth Quarter 2010 which indicates the mobile malware trend is on a sharp upswing.
New instances of malware targeting mobile devices detected last year were up forty-six percent over levels recorded in 2009, according to the report.
The growing popularity and variety of mobile communications platforms and a lack of consumer awareness about proper security precautions have provided criminals with ample opportunity to exploit devices like smartphones and tablets.
"Our Q4 Threats Report shows that cybercriminals are keeping tabs on what's popular, and what will have the biggest impact from the smallest effort. In the past few quarters, malware trends have been very similar in different geographies, but in the last quarter we've seen a significant shift in various regions, showing that cybercriminals are tapped in to trends worldwide. McAfee Labs also sees the direct correlation between device popularity and cybercriminal activity, a trend we expect to surge in 2011," stated Vincent Weafer,a senior vice president of McAfee Labs.
McAfee predicts that cyber criminals will increasingly target mobile devices with botnets, and exploits utilizing both Flash and PDF vulnerabilities will continue to escalate.
Malicious PDFs that target Adobe Acrobat represented the favored avenue for client-side infections in 2010, and the report indicates that McAfee expects the trend to continue with vigor.
The report also notes that a little more than fifty percent of the top 100 search engine queries produced results with websites that contained malicious links, and the widespread use of search engine attacks is also expected to continue.