Android Malware Increased 600% Annually Says Juniper Research

Android may be the most popular mobile platform globally, but its “openness” comes with a price: its users are the target of malicious attacks. Two separate reports issued by mobile security firms practically emphasize the same thing: Android users, beware of what you install on your smartphone!

The first report signed by Lookout found that about 6.5% of free apps on Google Play contain adware. These are apps that display advertising outside the normal app experience, harvest unusual personal information, or perform actions in response to ad clicks, the report says (via AllThingsD).

Furthermore, adware is on the rise among users across the globe. More than a million U.S. Android users have downloaded adware, but European users seem the most affected: Lookout estimates the number of users downloading adware to be 600,000 users in France, 400,000 in Germany and 200,000 in the U.K.

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The second study was issued by Juniper and raises a red flag: while iOS – the second most popular mobile platform – has been noticeably absent from Juniper’s malware sample database, Android malware rose more than 600% compared to 2012.

Juniper says it detected a total of 276,259 mobile malware apps, up from 28,500 spotted in 2011 and only 11,000 in 2010. The majority of the mobile malware documented by Juniper was either FakeInstaller or SMS Trojan. This is certainly alarming.

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The mobile security firm’s report points to the Android fragmentation as one of the root causes of the rise in mobile malware. As of June only about 4% of Android users were running the most recent version of Google’s mobile OS, which contains security features that fend off 77% of the Android malware documented by Juniper.

Technology enthusiast, rocker, biker and writer of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter or contact me via email: istvan@iphoneincanada.ca

  • Chrome262

    was there a reason they didn’t include iOS. its used exsensivly in the hospital system for remote login, and other companies around Toronto. So there would be some data on iOS for sure, unless there is no data to mention.

  • Al

    iOS malware is almost non-existent by comparison. Check the F-Secure link above, under “Related Posts”.

  • Chrome262

    Thanks Al, but what I want to know is why they didn’t bother to put it in the charts, or even and * stating so. Because its just going to give ammo to Trolls lol, but then again I can feel for them and their malware issues.

  • IstvanFekete

    From the Juniper report: “As we noted in last year’s report, malicious programs for Apple’s iOS platform are noticeably absent from Juniper’s mobile malware database.[…] Does that mean there is no malware problem in the iOS world? It’s hard to say. Apple says little about its management of the App Store or about malicious and suspicious mobile apps it discovers there. Most of what we know comes by way of independent observers working outside of Apple. We know there have been instances of applications being pulled from the App Store for violating Apple’s terms of services. How common an occurrence that is, or how many such applications get flagged either before or after publication on the App Store, is a matter of conjecture. Finally, iOS users who circumvent Apple’s content protection technology – or “jailbreak” their phones – are quite vulnerable to malicious infection, especially when loading applications from external application marketplaces that cater to jailbroken iOS devices. According to the Cydia app store used for jailbroken divices, a tool named evasi0n has been used to jailbreak nearly 18 million devices running iOS.6 These devices also don’t have the benefit of the many anti-virus solutions available to Android users.”

  • Chrome262

    Thanks IstvanFekete I have been Jailbreaking for years, and if you stay with Cydia for apps you never have a problem. Besides which even jailbroken the os never gives the kind of permissions to apps that Android does in their OS. In fact Cydia and its supporting community never have had to put out any major anti-virus software (a few have tried but never became popular because lack of need). but I have heard there are communities for Rooting as well, that are probably trusted over others, and heared that they make custom programs for their protection.

  • Chrome262

    By the way, this and other poor linux utilization, is why I tell people to buy anything but Android. Windows phone, BB, anything. Hell if Ubuntu was on more phones I would say that. but stay away from Android