Mobile malware getting out of control? Study claims 614% increase on year, Android accounts for 92% of total infections

Mobile malware getting out of control? Study claims 614% increase on year, Android accounts for 92% of total infections
A terrifying report was released two days ago by the Mobile Threat Center arm (MTC) of Juniper Networks – a manufacturer of network equipment with a hefty stake in enterprise security. According to Juniper, its MTC research facility is dedicated to 'around-the-clock mobile security and privacy research'. The MTC found mobile malware growing exponentially at an alarming rate – a 614% on year increase reaching a total of just about 280,000 malicious apps.

The report goes on to state that according to their research, Android is the main culprit in the vast expansion of the nefarious activity – it grew from accounting for 24% of all mobile malware in 2010 to 92% by March this year. And if you won't take the MTC's word for it, separate studies by McAfee (February - 97%) and F-Secure (May – 91.3%) from this year seem to agree on the ballpark of total incidences related to Android.

Reading through the report, we extracted what appear to be the main factors contributing to Android's unflattering No.1 spot.

  • We seem to talk a lot about fragmentation when referring to Android, and security appears to be no exception. Google's own numbers as of June 3, 2013 reveal that only a measly 4% of Android phone users ran the latest version of the operating system. As much as 77% of the most popular types of malware intrusions could have been avoided if everybody ran the latest Android OS, the MTC claims.
  • The Juniper devision identified over 500 third-party Android app stores worldwide, known to be hosting a wide berth of nasty code. In their sample, on average 3 out of every 5 such stores originated from either China or Russia
  • According to the research, malware developers have taken a decidedly for-profit direction, turning attacks into a business. Moreover, the MTC says each successful attack can yield about $10 on average in immediate profit. How? Their sample shows 73% of overall mobile malware attacks were FakeInstallers or SMS Trojans that exploit holes in mobile payments.

Those are all pretty big statements. If you're wondering what the basis for such devastating results is, the MTC also reports that the sample they used was acquired first-hand and is based on the analysis of over 1.85 million mobile applications and vulnerabilities. The center asserts that this is one of the largest quantitative studies of its kind and completely eclipses their previous one by using 133% more data.


Don't forget, however, that some of those companies may have more carnal reasons to be overplaying the threats. Nevertheless, with multiple sources pointing in the same direction, there sure appears to be a reason to worry.

Need help processing all of this? The infographic by MTC bellow neatly summarizes some of the important findings:

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58 Comments

1. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

this problem can be resolved #switchtonokialumia

6. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

This problem can be resolved. #installantivirus

7. EXkurogane

Posts: 863; Member since: Mar 07, 2013

I dont even have antivirus on my laptops, just the stock security essentials. Best defence against malware = knowledge, and using brains.

11. BioXhaZ

Posts: 1; Member since: Jun 28, 2013

common sense 2013 #dontdownloads**tfromrussiaXD

44. trustory

Posts: 132; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

avg antivirus is free

27. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

However I wouldn't switch to lumia because what's that thing unique to android.....oh android.....android is THE best OS end of....

30. number29

Posts: 185; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

I'd say iOS and WP are both better than Android because they are properly controlled and regulated = better user experience. You'd probably be best switching to iOS; you'll probably find you enjoy it a lot more than Android.

32. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

Waaa waaaa ......lol I can't believe in this day and age People still believe iOS is better and more enjoyable than android....

36. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

Some people still live in 2007....lol

51. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

atlest IOS and WP8 are million times secure i wont lose cash for theifs like you might lose on android and normally phone also wont crash or freeze or panic i prefer wp8 its simple but solid OS

52. number29

Posts: 185; Member since: Jan 25, 2013

I can't believe in this day and age there are still people who are deluded into thinking Android is a good OS for mobile devices...

55. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

You right, it's not just "good" many of us believe it's the BEST! Malware free since 2009 :)

54. maier9900

Posts: 272; Member since: Dec 17, 2011

You must have like over 10 thumbs down by now. P.A. you suck - for taking the thumbs down option out. Switching to GSMArena! peace.

29. yyuu1000

Posts: 260; Member since: Jul 26, 2012

switch to andriod and get antivirus,wp probably does not even have antivirus

47. Roomaku

Posts: 278; Member since: Feb 06, 2012

Yes WP doesn't probably have any antivirus programs because it doesn't need it, unlike Android. I think this all boils down to common sense though, not that Ios or windowsphone are better they are all closed vs open operating systems. None is better in my opinions just all appeal to different people.

49. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

android is ideal for people with common sense. anyway I use all three Android flexibility and app support make it a better mobile experience for me for now.

57. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

b ecause it dont have any viruses attack or and malwares in it its because you register as a developer for some cash not free which sounds more bad bad then if u paying some cash to MS you wont mess around creating virus and malwares on other hand android developers dont pay anything so they dont fear the consequences in result there are some who exploit this for their advantage so much for free B.S turns out the s**t way

33. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

This problem can be resolved by not downloading from 3rd party app stores. It is just safer to download the Google app market.

38. -box-

Posts: 3991; Member since: Jan 04, 2012

Correct, but not all devices have access to the play store. My tablet didn't, so I was forced to use third party ones, which was difficult and I felt restricted with what I could do on the tablet because I didn't trust the apps I was downloading. Wound up getting rid of the tablet anyway.

50. quakan

Posts: 1418; Member since: Mar 02, 2011

Been there. Done that. +1

43. javac

Posts: 102; Member since: Mar 04, 2013

Or dont be a dumb ass when downloading apps?

2. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

Simply surf safe sites,download apps from the safe app stores,and you're safe.

8. abcdefgh

Posts: 471; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

majority being average people have no much knowledge abt these so called safe site safe apps blah blah blah

23. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Majority of the people who have a android phone will have access to the play store... If they looking on the Internet for free apps chances are they just don't want to pay for an app.. I understand in some countries that not everyone has access to paid apps etc but if you are downloading apps outside of googles control then you can only blame yourself.. Chances are these sites are illegal and pretty sure you don't need to be knowledgeable to know getting paid apps for free is illegal.

28. TheLolGuy

Posts: 483; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

I absolutely agree. If they're downloading 3rd party apps, they should do the research and use common sense to judge if it's trustworthy. Most of them just want free or pirated apps. Fine sure, but just be careful to not get a virus. It's an easy way to infect the cheapskates. Ironically, that free app could cost you much, much more with premium SMS spamming. They key point to understand here is that you have no no one to blame but yourself. Except for the viruses that can infect in other ways without the user's intention. Those usually get fixed promptly, though.

10. TheLolGuy

Posts: 483; Member since: Mar 05, 2013

That's what you get when your Android OS will reach everyone far and wide. A lot of them will be really stupid, and get viruses from something that was completely in your control. AKA "are you sure you want to do this?" *check* "are you really sure?" *still check* You can have the most secure OS in the world, and people will still intentionally download clearly suspicious stuff. If you don't give the users a choice in blocking or accepting, then they whine about no freedom and lack of choice. You have to provide the users the ultimate choice for what they want to do on their device. They have that right. But then they make stupid mistakes and blame Android. Granted no OS is perfect, but I can guarantee you that a lot of virus infections were caused by people who probably did get a warning first, but ignored it anyways.

3. uchihakurtz

Posts: 427; Member since: Nov 12, 2012

Android is unsafe even in Play Store and especially on other sites. But real Android users know how to differentiate which are legit and safe apps and which aren't. Just download from Play Store, choose apps with good ratings and review, and download apps from trusted developers only.

4. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

WOW! Android has far more viruses than a $ 2.00 hooker. But at least it still cool.

5. verbalize

Posts: 150; Member since: May 03, 2013

Lol... I will just keep my iOS .. Thank you

9. haseebzahid

Posts: 1853; Member since: Feb 22, 2012

I say we hang Android it brings more bad then good

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