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Mobile malware on the rise, Qualcomm and Avast step in

22 Feb 2016

Qualcomm Technologies has chosen Avast software as the lead mobile security service to integrate Qualcomm Snapdragon Smart Protect, a behavioural analysis-based, anti-malware technology.

This solution utilises technology from the Qualcomm Zeroth Machine Intelligence Platform to detect mobile malware threats to smartphone security and personal privacy in real-time.

According to Avast, mobile malware is on the rise. The company currently has more than two million malicious samples in its mobile threat detection database, and every day detects 12,000 new, unique mobile malware samples. On top of this, each quarter about 15% of mobile users worldwide encounter mobile malware, the company says.

With the growing use of mobile devices and the valuable data they contain, malware developers are increasingly targeting mobile users, according to the company. One example of mobile malware is ransomware, which locks a device or the data on it and demands a ransom to unlock the device.

Adware is also spreading on mobile, arriving in the form of a gaming or entertainment app that seems harmless, but uses the infected device to click on ads.

In 2015, Avast also detected new forms of mobile spyware, intruding users’ privacy and collecting their data, and in addition to mobile malware, potential exploits in the Android operating system such as Stagefright put users at risk, Avast says.

"With threats increasing every day, OEMs and mobile operators need to protect their users in real-time,” sys Gagan Singh, Avast president of mobile.

“Snapdragon Smart Protect provides security at the processor level, which is designed to improve customer privacy and protect them from rogue applications, zero day attacks, and ransomware. We are proud to have worked with Qualcomm Technologies on this effort," says Singh.

“Snapdragon Smart Protect is engineered to support real-time, accurate detection of zero-day and transformed mobile malware,” says Sy Choudhury, Qualcomm Technologies senior director of product management.

“The combination of Qualcomm Technologies’ dynamic, behaviour-based malware analysis of Snapdragon Smart Protect and the core malware analysis delivered by Avast enables very powerful and comprehensive security and privacy protection for device users,” he says.

Traditional security software is limited to scanning and monitoring software behaviour at the application layer level. Snapdragon Smart Protect, on the other hand, utilises Qualcomm Technologies’ Zeroth machine learning technology to detect and classify a broader range of mobile malware at the processor level to achieve an even higher level of protection.

While consumers will benefit from better protection, OEMs and mobile operators will benefit from reducing the risk of data leakage and malware attacks for their users, Avast says.

Snapdragon Smart Protect is available to handset OEMs now on the Snapdragon 820 processor, and is expected to be supported by additional Snapdragon SoCs later this year. The first commercial devices with Snapdragon Smart Protect are expected in the first half of 2016.

Qualcomm Technologies and Avast will be demonstrating this mobile security solution at Mobile World Congress.

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