Lookout’s 2013 Mobile Threat Report: What’s Putting You at Risk + How To Avoid It

It’s twice as likely you’ll get hacked in 2013, according to the latest paper from mobile cybersecurity firm Lookout. The report, entitled 2013 Mobile Threat Predictions, makes several forecasts about the state of security as it pertains to Android users and the market as a whole.

The company says that a total of 18.4 million users will encounter malware or spyware by 2014. This assessment is the sum of security data from last year, and an estimate of malicious activity for 2013, which is also based on existing shipment data and other factors, such as the length of the average phone contract.

The global likelihood of a Lookout user coming across malware will also increase, from 0.4 percent as of October 2012, to more than double 12 months later.

According to the firm, 72 percent of the malware it detected in 2012 on the Android platform was classified as fraud: relatively simple programs that make use of legitimate premium SMS services to commit theft.  This category of malware will “continue to dominate the 2013 mobile threat space” in spite of OS-level countermeasures introduced with Jellybean 4.2

Lookout’s report adds that we can also expect an increase in  spam and phishing attempts, and addresses one final point – BYOD. Finding the “right balance” between protection and employee empowerment will be key for businesses in 2013.

“In 2012, smartphones and tablets managed countless aspects of our personal, public and business lives, giving attackers more incentives to strike,” said Kevin Mahaffey, co-founder and chief technology officer at Lookout. “In 2013, people and businesses will be more aware of the risks to their mobile devices than ever.”

Security is more crucial than ever, and not just in mobile. Hacktivist group GhostShell leaked 1.6 million government records just a few short hours ago, providing yet another example of what happens when an organization doesn’t protect its data.