Mobile Malware up 163% in 2012, Android the Prime Target

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Posted 4 years ago

Mobile Malware up 163% in 2012, Android the Prime TargetMalware is something many of us associate with Windows PCs and have security software installed to protect our systems as a result. The same strings of viruses, though, are not approached with the level of seriousness with our smartphones – this is despite mobiles essentially becoming pocket-sized computers over the past few years.

According to a new report by NQ Mobile, mobile malware is a considerable worry, especially if you are an Android owner. The NQ Mobile 2012 Security Report has found that mobile malware grew by some 163% last year, with a massive 94.8% of attacks found on the Google hardware.

The study showed that 32.8 million Android devices were infected during 2012, vastly outnumbering the 10.8 million that were found to host malware in 2011. Of course, Android gained a much larger share of the market last year, which means it cannot be realistically compared to Symbian – the discontinued operating system that was on the receiving end of 4% of infections.

There is a little bit of good news within this report for Android owners in the United States, however, with only 9.8% of infected devices being attributed to the US market. The main focus of the attacks was found to be on emerging markets. China topped the list with 25.5% of scanned devices infected; India was next with 19.4%, followed by Russia with 17.9%. The reason for these countries featuring so highly can most likely be attributed to the vast levels of pirating.

NQ Mobile revealed that the three primary methods for delivering malware to devices in 2012 included malicious URLs, repackaging apps and “SMiSishing” (phishing via SMS).

Taking these most popular methods into account, avoiding malware seems pretty straightforward – don’t click on random links and only download apps from official sources!

– Anthony Carter

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