MISCELLANEOUS

Will the rise of the 3G warriors awake the mobile e-threats dragon?

The rapid growth of the mobile Internet usage and the introduction of 3G services in the People

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The end of 2008 finds China in the leading position of the
Web surfing, with 298 million Internet users (22.6% of its population) and with
a 41.9 percent growth compared to previous year, according to the 23rd
Statistical Survey Report on Internet Development in China (document in
Chinese)
released by China Internet Network Information Center mid-January.

The main IT&C emerging market in Asia, China also saw
a boost in the mobile phone Internet usage, the figures simply doubling in the
last year up to 117.6 million users. With a blogging community that reached 162
million members and 234 million Web news readers at the end of 2008, there is
no wonder that 39.5% of Internet users rely on the mobile phone for Web
surfing, which becomes more and more popular among students. Actually, 43.5
percents of them use cell phones for checking e-mail, reading news and feeding
blogs, as well as for multimedia content download.

The decision the authorities took in 2009 regarding the
deployment of 3G services
could increase even more the attractivity of
mobile Internet in the following two years. China’s major three telecom
operators (that counted around 634 million subscribers in November 2008) are
expected to invest
around 400 billion Yuan ($ 58.5 billion) on 3G networks
over the next three
years.

In spite of the global economic turmoil, Beijing authorities anticipate for the
following twelve months only a direct investment
of at least $ 29 billion
in the infrastructure that should support
different standards, such as TD-SCDMA – China Mobile, WCDMA – China Unicom and
CDMA 2000 – China Telecom.

As a
recent analysis
for the current trimester points out, although China
experiences a sudden deceleration in economic activity and a slowdown in
economic growth, at present it find itself in a good position to self-finance
any measures aimed at restoring economic development. The massive migration of
people from rural to urban areas that has started few years ago is slowing
down, mostly because of the unattractive forecast of factories and business
closing down within major metropolitan areas. This might be one of the reasons
behind the remarkable 60.8% increase of the Internet surfers’ amount in the
rural regions, which exceeded 84 million users and experienced a faster growth
rate than the urban Web (35.6%) at the end of 2008.

Subsequently, mobile Internet usage could also see next year
an even more significant increase and the actual mobile Web growth of 113% at
the end of 2008 might easily be surpassed.

Still, chances are that the successful mobile Web usage hike
to be shadowed by a menace lurking in the dark – mobile malware proliferation.
The advent of 3G services means also the wide introduction and extensive usage
of the smart phones and other intelligent high-end devices with permanent
Internet access. An access that will focus mainly on Web surfing, downloads, on-line
news, blogs’ feeding, as well as on-line games.

As we already showed in our H2
2008 E-Threats Landscape Report
, 2009 is already expected to be one of the
most productive years in terms of mobile e-threats. Most likely, the malware
creators will no longer limit to the various mobile OS flavors’ exploitation,
but will make the decisive step towards flaws and breaches in the third-party
applications and plug-ins that cell phones embed for running specific
applications.

If we also consider the fact that in the last six months of
2008, the number of new infections among systems in China augmented 545.30% compared to
the first semester of the same year, should the perspective darken even more?

Comparative New Infections Spreading - Malware City

Probably it will, unless the rapid development of the new
technologies is not accompanied by an intelligent approach from the security
industry and mobile users in terms of defending data and devices. Simply because
surfing faster and surfing mobile does not necessarily mean surfing safer.

About the author

Răzvan LIVINTZ

With a humanities passion and background (BA and MA in Comparative Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest) - complemented by an avid interest for the IT world and its stunning evolution, I joined in the autumn of 2003 the chief editors' team from Niculescu Publishing House, as IT&C Chief Editor, where (among many other things) I coordinated the Romanian version of the well-known SAMS Teach Yourself in 24 Hours series. In 2005 I accepted two new challenges and became Junior Lecturer at the Faculty of Letters (to quote U2 - "A Sort of Homecoming") and Lead Technical Writer at BluePhoenix Solutions.

After leaving from BluePhoenix in 2008, I rediscovered "all that technical jazz" with the E-Threat Analysis and Communication Team at BitDefender, the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Here I produce a wide range of IT&C security-related content, from malware, spam and phishing alerts to technical whitepapers and press releases. Every now and then, I enjoy scrutinizing the convolutions of e-criminals' "not-so-beautiful mind" and, in counterpart, the new defensive trends throughout posts on www.hotforsecurity.com.

Balancing the keen and until late in night (please read "early morning") reading (fiction and comparative literature studies mostly) with Internet "addiction", the genuine zeal for my bright and fervid students with the craze for the latest discoveries in science and technology, I also enjoy taking not very usual pictures (I'm not a pro, but if you want to see the world through my lenses, here are some samples http://martzipan.blogspot.com), messing around with DTP programs to put out some nifty book layouts and wacky t-shirts, roaming the world (I can hardly wait to come back in the Big Apple), and last but not least, driving my small Korean car throughout the intricacies of our metropolis's traffic.