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Almost All Mobile Malware Targets Android – A Cause for Concern?

Steven Blum
3

Android Fadenkreuz Marcus Stark pixelio

Are Androids really at risk of being infected by malware? If you believe the security vendors, the answer is a definite yes. All sorts of mobile security companies regularly publish statistics that make it appear as if you should download an anti-virus app immediately to ensure your phone won't be infected. The latest example: F-Secure has said that attacks on Android phones have grown twenty-fold in the first quarter of 2012 from 3,000 to over 60,000.

Overall, F-Secure has found completely new families of malware variants. 79% of the viruses developed for the mobile arena target Android in 2012, up from 66% in 2011. Looking at just last quarter, Google's operating system was the target of 96 out of 100 threats. iPhone's threat was just .7%

Trojans made up 66% of all threats. F-Secure, however, found that on the latest OS – Android 4.2.2 – threats were far less likely, due to more security checks. 

F-Secure also found that another kind of nefarious trojan was found to be gaining in popularity: the kind that can procure user's money and send expensive premium SMS to other users or force them to make an SMS subscription.

Mobile Threat Report Q4 2012 31

The numbers speak for themselves, so why shouldn't Android users tremble with fear? Firstly, because Android makes up 70% of the smartphone market anyway, so of course their share of the malware pie would be bigger. Second, there are no real Android viruses that spread automatically. Studying the permissions on Google Play and reading reviews before downloading should be sufficient for protecting your smartphone. No expensive security app required.

If you do install a virus-fighting app, you still might not be secure. After all, the apps simply check the app your downloading against the newest database of viruses. New threats, like the kind you might actually accidentally stumble across, are much harder (some say impossible) to protect against. 

Comments

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  • Gio A. Mar 8, 2013 Link

    I'm really getting tired of these security firms saying that android isn't safe. The only thing they are trying to do is make the avarage joe afraid so they can make money of of them buy selling them some crappy anti virus. I personally have lookout on mu phone because its frew ant it would allow me to loccate it if ever I lost it. The anti virus part of look out is just a plus for me. Google should really make a video showing people how to use the play store and how they can spot malware apps true permissions and just show people that android is safe if you use it responsibly so that they are not fooled by yhe lies of these anti malware companies.

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  • B4Apps Mar 8, 2013 Link

    Completely agree ! Ordinary android users should be educated about permissions, because they provide good security hints.

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