Apple malware appears on Nokia's top 20 malware list for the first time

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Apple iOS-based malware appeared on top 20 list of malware for first time with XcodeGhost and FlexiSpy, according to the latest Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab report.

In the second half of 2015, iPhone malware represented 6 percent of the total infections. "That is a significant increase from before," said Kevin McNamee, director of the Nokia Threat Intelligence Lab. "It is no longer just Androids that are at risk; the iPhones are also at risk," McNamee told FierceITSecurity.

"A big danger from the iPhone space is that there is a vulnerability in the operating system, so with a network-based breach iPhones are defenseless; they don't have the antivirus type of applications that the Android system has. Though they haven't had problems up until now, if they do get breached it could be quite serious," said McNamee.

For the report, Nokia collected data from networks where its malware detection technology is deployed, covering more than 100 million devices.

While iOS malware is gaining ground, Android malware is still going strong, more than doubling in the last six months of 2015, the report found.

Mobile malware is becoming more sophisticated in the techniques it uses to persist on the device. Nokia has observed malware that is difficult to uninstall and can even survive a factory reset.

In addition, ransomware is a rising mobile threat. Ransomware, like CryptoLocker, has been around for a while on Windows PCs, but last year saw several varieties attacking Android. Recovery can only be achieved by paying the attacker a ransom fee via a prepaid cash voucher or with bitcoins, the report noted.

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