Halloween Zombies are Everywhere - and Soon on the Device in Your Hands

By Avg Technologies, PRNE
Wednesday, October 26, 2011

AMSTERDAM, October 27, 2011 -

As mobile devices become as powerful as PCs,
it is just a matter of time before they will turn into zombies

AVG Technologies, a leading provider of Internet and mobile security, today encourages users to ensure their mobile devices are protected from the looming threat of mobile Zombies, a sobering phenomenon in which commandeered devices silently work against owners and others. As Halloween revelers turn themselves into the familiar fantasy version of these creatures, mobile devices across the planet are fully equipped to take actions based on instructions received for a remote cybercriminal - long before they can be effectively tracked.

A Zombie is an Internet-enabled computing device that has been hacked to perform tasks under instructions from others. Most owners of zombie devices have no idea their system literally lies in wait to be called into a range of actions, such as:

  • Click fraud - waged against sites displaying pay-per-click advertising, essentially stealing from online retailers
  •  Denial-of-service attacks - the orchestrated flooding of target internet addresses by a large number of computers to crash it and prevent access from legitimate users, often aiming to take down popular websites
  • Debilitating spam - spammers avoid detection and pass bandwidth costs to device owners
  • Harvesting of personally identifiable information (identity theft)
  • Spreading and/or updating new malware
  • Sending SMS to premium numbers with high charges

“It is expected that more and more mobile devices will turn into Zombies that will be operated by instructions received from a remote cybercriminal,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, AVG’s Chief Technology Officer. “Given the lack of public awareness about the need to protect mobile devices as carefully as PCs and the multitude of users who take zero mobile security precautions, consumers have inadvertently created a powerful medium for sophisticated attacks against key elements of our infrastructure.  It’s not just the stuff of Halloween. It’s a threat that we need to be prepared to protect from.”

According to comScore, smartphones now account for 44 percent of the UK mobile phone market (1*). Based on market data from the ITU, this translates to approximately 35 million devices (2*). In an analysis published on InformationWeek, the number of Android mobile devices communicating with known criminal organizations reached 20,000 in the first half of 2011 (3*), a threat that only multiplies when, for example, devices join corporate Wi-Fi networks. For hackers, the allure of tapping into millions of potential devices is far too seductive to ignore.  AVG therefore reminds consumers that while detection is important, prevention is best. Mobile security solutions are available and ready to work. 


2*International Telecommunications Union - www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/


About AVG Technologies

AVG is a global security software maker protecting more than 100 million active users in 170 countries from the ever-growing incidence of Web threats, viruses, spam, cyber-scams and hackers on the Internet. AVG has nearly two decades of experience in combating cybercrime and advanced laboratories for detecting, pre-empting and combating Web-borne threats from around the world. Its free, downloadable software allows novice users to have basic anti-virus protection and then easily upgrade to greater levels of safety and defense when they are ready. AVG has a strong reseller network consisting of resellers, partners and distributors globally including; CNET, Ingram Micro, and Wal-Mart.


Source: www.avg.com/press-releases-news

Contacts: United Kingdom: Lennard van Otterloo, MSL for AVG, Lennard.vanotterloo at mslgroup.com, +44(0)20-7878-3210; United States: Jeff Seedman, Ruder Finn for AVG, seedmanj at ruderfinn.com , + 1(415)249-6763; Investor Relations: Siobhan MacDermott, AVG Technologies - Investor Relations, siobhan.macdermott at avg.com, +1(415)299-2945

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