Cisco report: Java and Android are hives of malware

Elliot Bentley

Last year, 91% of all web exploits used Java, while 99% of all mobile malware targeted Android devices.

annual security report from Cisco points the finger at Java and
Android as being the two biggest risk factors in enterprise

Java applets were the attack vector of 91% of all web
exploits last year, according to the
, more than Adobe Reader and Flash combines.

Elsewhere, mobile malware is a small but growing issue – for
Android users at least, whom 99% of mobile malware targeted last

Considering the slow update process, it may come as little
surprise to some that 76% of the companies surveyed by Cisco were
still running Java 6. Most of these companies also run Java 7, but
maintain the older version for compatibility legacy applications –
 despite the fact that Oracle
stopped providing free security updates
for it last year.

This slow upgrade process and the overall popularity of Java
means that it is “an attack surface that is too big for criminals
to ignore”.

The good news from the report is that global spam
volume is decreasing, even though the level of “maliciously
intended” spam remains at the same level.

However, malware writers are instead turning their
attention to high-value targets such as web hosting servers,
nameservers, and data centers. The authors say this “suggests the
forming of überbots that seek high-reputation and resource-rich

There has also been a significant change in targets,
with electronics manufacturing and the agriculture and mining
industries are being picked out specifically.

In both desktop and mobile security, then, 2013 was
not a good year for Java. The report concludes: “If security
professionals who have limited time to fight web exploits decide to
focus most of their attention on Java, they’ll be putting their
resources in the right place.”

Photo by DirectDish.

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