Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Android malware still rising despite Google's security improvements

Q3 figure reaches 51,477 unique files

Article comments

Android’s 2012 security overhaul hasn't stopped the volume of global threats targeting the mobile OS continuing to rise at an alarming rate, F-Secure’s latest mobile threat report has found.

The company noticed 51,447 unique Android malware samples in the third quarter, an unexpectedly huge jump from Q2’s figure of just over 5,000 and around 3,000 in Q1.

Each one of these files was a single instance of 67 malware variants and families the company identified as being active in the same period, which suggests that the rise is probably best explained as signalling that criminals are launching more attacks with roughly the same malware types to choose from.

According to F-Secure, Android's malware problem can be explained by its huge popularity across the world, coupled to high growth rates; Android’s market share in China – now the world’s largest smartphone market by units – is currently 81 percent, the company said.

In these countries, Google’s overhauled Play Store is only one among a diversity of sources for Android applications, a fragmentation wrinkle malware-distributors have been quick to exploit. People seem happy to download apps from third-party stes.

As F-Secure’s detailed list of malware examples illustrates, the majority of rogue apps are driven by simple SMS tariff fraud.

After a complacent start, Google has shown signs of getting on top of its embarrassing malware problem, first reinventing the Market as Play, a supervised single location for app downloads.

In February it also instituted ‘Bouncer’, an automated security scanning system designed to weed out malware before it gets near users.  This has had some success but the sheer size and fragmentation of the OS still works against the company is some parts of the world.

It would be a mistake to see Android malware as something only Chinese and Russian users have to worry about. In May, a Latvian company was fined for deceiving users with a 'wrapper' app impersonating Angry Birds. Total number of UK users affected by its SME deception: 1,400 that came to light, possibly that didn't.

The oddity of the mobile malware world revealed by F-Secure is underlined by the fact that the defunct Symbian OS still attracts the interest of malware writers, with a 17 percent rise recorded in new examples hitting its still large but dwindling user base in Q3.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *