South-East Asia Sees Rise Of Mobile Pick-pocketing, Pocket Bots And Browser Attacks


There has been a sharp rise in the scope and complexity of mobile threats in South-East Asia, with India recently reported to receive 8% of all global malware and adware – the highest across the globe – and China and Malaysia also in the top ten regions, the need for action is clear, according to AdaptiveMobile.

With a rapidly growing subscriber base, operators in this region are recognising the need to keep subscribers safe and preserve trust in both new and existing mobile services, the mobile security company AdaptiveMobile, said Monday

Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia

“Cellular subscriptions have quadrupled in the last decade across South-East Asia and operators are already beginning to think about how to keep their user base secure. Hackers will follow the opportunities, so with more subscribers come more threats,” says John White, VP Sales Asia Pacific, AdaptiveMobile.

White added that, “There have been a number of highly evolved malware attacks, such as the recent SNSZombie virus in China, which has affected half a million mobiles and can steal bank card numbers. Mobile pick-pocketing, pocket-bots and mobile browser attacks are just a few of the newer kinds of attacks that we are seeing across the mobile broadband environment – this is not something that operators can ignore.”

Professional cyber criminals are now targeting the South East Asian region which means that attacks are complex and carefully planned, and many mobile operators have taken steps to protect against these attacks.

For example, Kaspersky reported no fewer than five new Trojans being released in Indonesia, all transferring under a dollar without user consent.

Although these amounts are small, this also means that users are unlikely to pick up on them.

With reports from Norton estimating that the total amount lost by Singaporeans in the last twelve months was as high as $944m, operators which do not protect against attacks could find themselves with a large number of worried, victimised subscribers. This may gradually erode trust in the network and affect uptake of new services.

“It’s vital to have a protection platform which combats mobile malware at the source and across all bearers,” said White. “Recent attacks have shown the importance of this approach and whilst theft and spam may seem like irritations at first, these kinds of problems can have a profound impact on an operator’s long-term business plan.”

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