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Alcatel-Lucent report on malware in 2014 sees rise in device and network attacks that place personal and workplace privacy at risk

Motive Security Labs estimates that 16 million mobile devices are infected by malicious software secretly spying on users, stealing confidential information and pilfering data plans


Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today released figures showing that security threats to mobile and residential devices and attacks on communications networks rose in 2014, threatening personal and corporate privacy and information.

Alcatel-Lucent’s Motive® Security Labs estimates 16 million mobile devices worldwide have been infected by malicious software – or “malware” - used by cybercriminals for corporate and personal espionage, information theft, denial of service attacks on businesses and governments, and banking and advertising scams.

The report also found that consumers who avoid shopping online out of fear their credit or debit card information may be stolen are actually exposing themselves to greater risk: a rash of retail cyber-security breaches in 2014 were all the result of malware infections on cash registers or point-of-sale terminals, not online stores. This is largely because stolen cards from online retailers are not as valuable to criminals because they can only be used for online purchases. 

The Motive Security Labs report – which looked at all popular mobile device platforms - found that such malware infections in mobile devices increased 25% in 2014, compared to a 20% increase in 2013. Android™ devices have now caught up with Windows™ laptops, which had been the primary workhorse of cybercrime, with infection rates between Android and Windows devices split 50/50 in 2014. While less than 1% of infections come from iPhone® and Blackberry® smartphones, new vulnerabilities emerged last year to show they are not immune to malware threats.  

Malware growth continues to be aided by the fact that a vast majority of mobile device owners do not take proper device security precautions. A recent Motive Security Labs survey found that 65% of subscribers instead expect their service provider to protect both their mobile and home devices. Motive’s malware report concluded that infection rates in residential networks also rose significantly in 2014, with malware found in 13.6% of residences, an increase of 5% over the previous year.

“With malware attacks on devices steadily rising with consumer ultra-broadband usage, the impact on customer experience becomes a primary concern for service providers,” said Patrick Tan, General Manager of Network Intelligence at Alcatel-Lucent. “As a result, we’re seeing more operators take a proactive approach to this problem by providing services that alert subscribers to malware on their devices along with self-help instructions for removing it.”

Other Motive Security Lab report highlights include:

  • The mobile infection rate in 2014 is 0.68%. Based on this Alcatel-Lucent estimates that worldwide, about 16 million mobile devices are infected by malware.
  • Mobile malware is increasing in sophistication with more robust command and control protocols
  • Mobile spyware, used to spy on a phone’s owner, is also on the increase. It tracks the phone’s location, monitors ingoing and outgoing calls, text messages, e-mail and tracks web browsing.
  • The overall monthly infection rate in residential fixed broadband networks is just under 14%. This is up substantially from the 9% seen in 2013. This is mostly attributable to an increase in infections by moderate threat level adware.
  • High-level threats such as ‘bots’, ‘rootkits’, and ‘banking trojans’ remain steady at around 5%.

The Motive Security Labs report also noted in 2014 an increase in Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attacks using network infrastructure components such as home routers, DSL modems, cable modems, mobile WiFi™ hotspots, DNS servers and NTP servers. Additionally, the first DDOS attacks launched from mobile phones took place, suggesting how so-called ‘hactivism’ movements against the mobile infrastructure might be launched in the future.


Motive Security Labs (formerly Kindsight Security Labs), processes more than 120,000 new malware samples per day and maintains a library of over 30 million active samples. Due to Alcatel-Lucent’s unique position within communication networks, it can measure the impact of mobile and home device traffic moving over those networks to identify malicious and cyber-security threats. Motive Security Labs is an analytics arm of Motive Customer Experience Management.


Alcatel-Lucent is the leading IP networking, ultra-broadband access and cloud technology specialist. We are dedicated to making global communications more innovative, sustainable and accessible for people, businesses and governments worldwide. Our mission is to invent and deliver trusted networks to help our customers unleash their value. Every success has its network.

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