Mobile, Social Registers Rise In Cybercrime

Symantec has released a cybercrime report showing increases in malicious activity in mobile and social networks, as Google acquires cybersecurity startup VirusTotal, which focuses on protecting Internet services supported by Android devices.

The free security service analyzes suspicious files and URLs. The deal, completed for an undisclosed amount, extends a partnership the two companies previously had. The company will operate independently to support Google's Web scanning tools.

VirusTotal offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer. The app informs users on Android devices about malware such as viruses, Trojans and worms. It manages scans by more than 40 antivirus software applications, flagging undesirable content. It does not, however, provide real-time protection for Android devices, not a substitute for antivirus products, or compatible with Sony Internet TVs.

Google has been the target of continuous malware attacks.

Symantec's 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report estimates that crimes cost consumers $110 billion in the past year worldwide. In the United States it cost consumers $21 billion; Europe, $16 billion; China, $46 billion; India and Brazil, each $8 billion; Mexico, $2 billion; Russia and Australia, $2 billion each; and Japan, 500 million.

The report estimates 1.5 million consumers affected daily at an average cost of $197 per victim. Email has become a potential gateway for cybercrime, but there's a strong uptick of cybercrime in social networks and mobile devices.

Mobile vulnerabilities have doubled from 2010 to 2011, which can make consumers leery of clicking on mobile ads. Symantec notes that 31% of mobile users have received a text message from someone they didn't know requesting they click on an embedded link or dial an unknown number to retrieve voice mail. Some 44% don't know security platforms exist, and two-thirds of adults have lost their device or had it stolen.

In social, four out of 10 users have fallen victim to cybercrime, one in six users report that someone hacked into their profile, and one in 10 social users have been affected by a scam or fake link on a social network platform.

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