According to a new report by security software firm Symantec, Google’s Android platform remains the main target for mobile malware writers, despite iOS technically having more vulnerabilities (via Tech Crunch). The report says that the difference in threat level between the two mobile operating systems is the two completely different mobile ecosystem approaches i.e “Apple’s walled garden vs Android’s open playground”.
Symantec has identified 108 new unique threats to all mobile platforms in 2012, out of which 103 target the Android platform while just one one targets the iOS. Symbian took the second spot with 3 unique threats, while Windows Mobile had 1. But in terms of platform vulnerabilities, Symantec says that there were 387 vulnerabilities found in iOS as compared to just 13 for Android. BlackBerry also had 13 vulnerabilities, while Windows Mobile had 2.
“Today, mobile vulnerabilities have little or no correlation to mobile malware. In fact, while Apple’s iOS had the most documented vulnerabilities in 2012, there was only one threat created for the platform. Compare this to the Android OS; although only thirteen vulnerabilities were reported, it led all mobile operating systems in the amount of malware written for the platform. Vulnerabilities likely will become a factor in mobile malware, but today Android’s market share, the openness of the platform, and the multiple distribution methods available to applications embedded with malware make it the go-to platform of malware authors”.
The report also notes that some exploits are not in the original Android OS itself but in the custom modifications made by manufacturers, such as the exploit for Samsung models that appeared in 2012.