Android leads other platforms for mobile malware

Juniper Networks posted a report on their blog Tuesday, claiming that the Android platform has seen an exponential growth in malware samples in the last couple months. Android malware has increased an astounding 472 percent since July 2011, not even half a year ago.

In Juniper's annual Malicious Mobile Threats Report from May 2011, they found that Android malware had at that time grown 400 percent since summer of 2010. More recently, Juniper Global Threat Center noticed a 110 percent increase in malware sample collection from October over the previous month, which was a 171 percent increase from what had been collected up to July of this year.

Not only did Juniper record an increase in the volume of Android malware available, they also saw more sophisticated methods used in the malware itself. Juniper's report says they began seeing Android malware capable of gaining root access on the device, which could then be used to install additional packages in the background that would extend the functionality of the malware. This is now a common behavior for almost every piece of malware, because according to Juniper, this vulnerability is prevalent in almost 90 percent of Android devices.

Juniper's report lays the blame for this overabundance of malware on Google's review process. "These days, it seems all you need is a developer account, that is relatively easy to anonymize, pay $25 and you can post your applications," Juniper's blog post said.

Juniper's blog post also tackles the question of whether or not Apple's iOS platform is more secure than Android. They claim that while iOS might be more secure than Android, it's not necessarily because of better security or less vulnerabilities, but mainly because of the difference in approaches to monitoring the companies' respective application marketplaces. The open nature of the Android marketplace means that it doesn't have code signing and the sometimes-criticized review process that Apple requires. In this case the lack of these things appears to be a downside, as this is what makes it so easy for attackers to distribute malware on Android. "Until there comes a time that someone figures out a tried and true way to get malicious applications into the App Store, Android will remain the target of mobile malware writers around the world," Juniper's blog post said.

The full report contains more technical details and a simpler infographic that displays their findings.

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23 Comments

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50 percent or so marketshare = most targeted. Its exactly the same for Windows OSs .. if iphone OS had 50 percent marketshare the title of this article would be "iphone leads other platforms in mobile malware. Has nothing to do with design of the underlying operating system.

sam232 said,
50 percent or so marketshare = most targeted. Its exactly the same for Windows OSs .. if iphone OS had 50 percent marketshare the title of this article would be "iphone leads other platforms in mobile malware. Has nothing to do with design of the underlying operating system.

Yeah...no. The whole, "The OS with the largest market share gets targeted, while others are ignored," line of thinking is a belief supported by circumstantial evidence, and it is not a fact. Just like I believe Windows was targeted because it's was easier for a virus or malware to install itself on the system, and then spread without the user knowing. (Windows XP)

In this case, I THINK Android is targeted due to its open nature.

Google just announced that 200 million Android devices have been activated, and Apple announced that as of October of 2011, 250 million iOS devices have been sold. They're basically neck and neck.

http://www.neowin.net/news/goo...devices-activated-worldwide

As it was said above Android is one of the most used mobile platforms which equals the most malware. Just like Windows is the most used Desktop OS and has the most malware. Nothing shocking about this IN THE LEAST.

Also if it was WP7 that was the biggest my guess would be the roll would be reversed where WP7 would have the most malware and Android would not. People write for what's the going trend and what is out there more then not. That's simple math look at what's going on with Apple right now the more they sell the more they are starting to get malware a few years ago they would have laughed at the idea of malware being on their systems now they can not.

acidic-e- said,
As it was said above Android is one of the most used mobile platforms which equals the most malware. Just like Windows is the most used Desktop OS and has the most malware. Nothing shocking about this IN THE LEAST.

Also if it was WP7 that was the biggest my guess would be the roll would be reversed where WP7 would have the most malware and Android would not. People write for what's the going trend and what is out there more then not. That's simple math look at what's going on with Apple right now the more they sell the more they are starting to get malware a few years ago they would have laughed at the idea of malware being on their systems now they can not.

According to your logic iOS should have more or at least equal number of Malwares! Total Number of iOS devices are more than Android devices.

trollonknoll said,

Total Number of iOS devices are more than Android devices.

All iPhone/iPad models to date I have seen the number 115million worldwide mentioned.
And I have seen 190million Android devices mentioned.
The gap is increasing faster and faster in favour of Android.
If we assume the first several years of the fight didnt mean much as neither got any malware attention and only include the past 2 years worth of sales, well Android is clearly the more popular by a massive margin.

bits said,

All iPhone/iPad models to date I have seen the number 115million worldwide mentioned.
And I have seen 190million Android devices mentioned.
The gap is increasing faster and faster in favour of Android.
If we assume the first several years of the fight didnt mean much as neither got any malware attention and only include the past 2 years worth of sales, well Android is clearly the more popular by a massive margin.

There are 270 million iOS devices.

Chica Ami said,
Awesome, more androids in the world, more malware to have.

So many reaons why being open isn't the best.

Closed FTW!!!

Only stupid people download viruses.

I thought Linux didn't get any viruses or malware ....good lot of hype that stupid people actually believed. The more popular an OS is the more likely there is to be malware made for it.
Currently is hardly any for the Windows phone...you just watch the surge happen when they FINALLY release the damn things.

SilverL said,
Sooo...
Linux least malware, Windows the most?
Linux-based phone... most malware, windows-based the least?

most popular OS, most malware...duh
but funny for those windows haters, so how safe is linux as soon as it becomes popular? NOT AT ALL =D

SilverL said,
Sooo...
Linux least malware, Windows the most?
Linux-based phone... most malware, windows-based the least?

Goes to show it all comes down to how wisely you use it.

Shadowzz said,

most popular OS, most malware...duh
but funny for those windows haters, so how safe is linux as soon as it becomes popular? NOT AT ALL =D

That's like saying that Windows OS is perfect which it is not. If it was so much better why are there 20+ (using a small number cause there are hundreds more really) Anti-Virus and Malware programs out there to download. Stupid logic dude seriously.

acidic-e- said,

That's like saying that Windows OS is perfect which it is not. If it was so much better why are there 20+ (using a small number cause there are hundreds more really) Anti-Virus and Malware programs out there to download. Stupid logic dude seriously.


That isn't like saying WIndows is perfect, he is just saying, if an OS is the most popular it will get lots of malware, no matter how "secure" or insecuire, it will get affected sooner or later, that happens with Windows on PC's, that happens with Android on phones, simple as that.

SilverL said,
Sooo...
Linux least malware, Windows the most?
Linux-based phone... most malware, windows-based the least?

iOS , least malware - Linux too.

alexalex said,

iOS , least malware - Linux too.

That's because it's a closed ecosystem. Popularity + Open Ecosystem = Most Malware

It's the trade off. You can have iPhone and a closed off platform that doesn't allow applications like Wifi scanners (which is really ridiculous IMO) or you can have an open platform that is truly open to everything (unfortunately). But just like Windows OS, as long as the user has common sense, adhere to a good practice of installing software from trusted companies, a user will never get infected. I've had Android for 2 years. I never did encounter one malicious application. That's because I practice what I preach.

WhatWarning said,
It's the trade off. You can have iPhone and a closed off platform that doesn't allow applications like Wifi scanners (which is really ridiculous IMO) or you can have an open platform that is truly open to everything (unfortunately). But just like Windows OS, as long as the user has common sense, adhere to a good practice of installing software from trusted companies, a user will never get infected. I've had Android for 2 years. I never did encounter one malicious application. That's because I practice what I preach.

Well said. Android is the most flexible smartphone OS out there, but with that comes people that want to do harm as well. If people don't want to use their heads when downloading random crap, Android isn't for them, because it'll just end up like their PC at home.

Cash Money Billionaire said,

You mean iOS, obviously nobody wants or even knows what WP7 even is

Yeah, I mean this HTC Mozart that I've got I mean what on earth is it? Where did it come from? It must have been those gnomes

Cash Money Billionaire said,

You mean iOS, obviously nobody wants or even knows what WP7 even is

In your own little close-minded world.