40% of U.S. Mobile Users Will Click an Unsafe Link This Year

40% of U.S. Mobile Users Will Click an Unsafe Link This Year

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The chances that your mobile device has been hit by malware or spyware is largely dependent on geographic location, a new study suggests.

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Mobile security company Lookout has revealed its State of Mobile Security Report 2012, which analyzed threat detection rates for its user base over a 12 -month period, and found that the likelihood of contracting mobile malware is 41% in Russia, compared to about 5% in the U.S. Meanwhile, the percentage is significantly lower in Japan (0.04%).

Lookout partially attributes this to mobile behavior endemic to certain regions, such clicking on suspicious links and downloading untrustworthy apps. In fact, four in 10 mobile users in the U.S. will click on an unsafe link on a mobile device this year, the report said.

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While stats on Russian users were not included, the report also said that country's lax regulatory practices also fuels the trend, allowing certain locations to be more lucrative for cybercriminals to spread malware.

The report also noted that toll fraud — known as billing an unsuspecting victim through premium SMS services, including and wallpaper subscriptions -- has emerged as the most prevalent type of malware on mobile devices, making up 62% of all threats found on mobile apps.

More than 6 million people were affected by Android malware from June 2011 to June 2012, according to report estimates, and most of which were affected by toll fraud applications.

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"About 5% of free Android mobile applications contain one or more aggressive ad networks, which can access personal information or display confusing ads, but high-profile iOS applications have also raised red flags about privacy issues this year," the company said in the report.

Have you ever been a victim of toll fraud? Are you surprised that malware is more prevalent in some countries? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Image courtesy of Flickr, Jorge Quinteros

This story originally published on Mashable here.

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