Android could be a malware time bomb (report)

Summary:Another report finds that Android is the most plagued mobile OS when it comes to malware.

Although open source fans have criticized Android in the past for not being as open source as they would like, that key element to the mobile OS can't be ignored.

And it certainly isn't being ignored by mobile malware developers.

According to a new report from the Juniper Networks Global Threat Center, self-touted as "the world’s only threat center focused exclusively on mobile security," October and November are shaping up to see the fastest growth in Android malware in the history of the mobile platform.

If that's not scary enough, October alone showed a 110 percent increase in malware over the previous month as well as a 171 percent increase from July.

Juniper isn't the first to state that Android has a malware problem. McAfee published similar findings in August that malware targeted towards Google’s mobile OS has skyrocketed 76 percent since the previous quarter.

Juniper sums up why Android is getting hit by malware at a more rapid pace than any other mobile platform rather well:

What happens when anyone can develop and publish an application to the Android Market? A 472% increase in Android malware samples since July 2011. 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. With no upfront review process, no one checking to see that your application does what it says, just the world’s largest majority of smartphone users skimming past your application’s description page with whatever description of the application the developer chooses to include. Sure, your application can be removed after the fact—if someone discovers that it is actually malicious and reports it. But, how many unsuspecting people are going to download it before it is identified as malicious and removed?

In a separate report, Juniper reports that that the threat center discovered the largest set of malicious applications aimed at Android users over the past few days. Specifically, the team identified several hundred new “SMS Trojans,” and other text messaging scams stemming from Russia.

Unfortunately for Google and its customers, being the most popular mobile OS for countless months running isn't all smiles and rainbows. Juniper also posits that this latest development in a rapidly expanding ecosystem of malicious Android apps shows that cyber criminals are giving up on older platforms like Symbian and heading for where the action is: Android.

[Image via Juniper Networks]

Related:

Topics: Android, Google, Malware, Mobility, Security

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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