2011 - The year of the Android malware

2011 - The year of the Android malware

Summary: Seems like things are only going to get worse in 2012.


If you cast your minds back to December of last year, I called 2011 the year of the Android OS. Yet as we look back at the rapidly evolving mobile landscape for that year, it has become clear that 2011 was also the year of the Android malware.

Last month a report by the Juniper Networks Mobile Threat Center showed how Android malware had increased by a massive 3,325 percent during the year, with mobile malware samples increasing from 11,138 to 28,472. A new report by security firm F-Secure [PDF] shows how over the same period, Android malware overtook both Pocket PC and Symbian malware to dominate the mobile scene.

Here's some data for you to get your teeth into:

Profit seems to be driving the increase in mobile malware. Threats motivated by profit, such as premium rate SMS malware, account for more than half of all mobile threats. Mobile users are the low-hanging fruit, ripe for the picking by scammers and fraudsters.

Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer at F-Secure said in the report that, "the most credible threat is coming from attackers who want to profit monetarily with their attacks." He went on to say that, "right now we're seeing more profit-motivated mobile malware than ever before."

Seems like things are only going to get worse. It's so easy to write and distribute Android malware, and as long as users willingly install it onto their handsets, scammers and fraudsters will continue to target them.

The smartphone has replaced the PC as the primary consumer target for the bad guys because it's easier to profit from having malware on a smartphone than it is from installing malware on a PC. Moreover, with more than 850,000 new Android devices activated daily, there's a continuous supply of new victims added to the ecosystem to keep these scams profitable.

Image credit: F-Secure.


Topics: Security, Android, Google, Malware, Mobile OS, Mobility

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  • Crap

    You know whats funny, this is just FUD. "Threats" is not actual malware. Just cause a security company says something is threatened so they can sell their products does not actually mean there is a "threat". I am sorry but you're blog is crap and should get pulled. Was there ANY "outbreak" of malware at all? Did anyone actually get anything? Why don't you go and talk about things you know, like how great you iproducts are.
    • Do yourself a favor

      and Google the term "Android Malware" and thenn Google "iOS Malware" and open your eyes. How many malware-laden apps were removed from Google's own Android App market?

      Were you aware of this or was your post just another frothing at the mouth fandroid zealot replying to a perceived attack on his precious? And before you try to paint [i]me[/i] as some sort of Android Hater I own 2 Android based devices vs 1 iOS based device - I have no stake in your religious war.

      What I find curious is that there is no mention of any malware on Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 platforms - were they not included in this study or is there simply no malware that affects them? Or are they included in that "Pocket PC" stat?
      • RE: Do yourself a favor

        One should consider all those iPhone apps in Apple's app store that stole users contact information to be malware too. Thus, iOS is not as pristine as many would like to believe.
        Rabid Howler Monkey
      • Not to make light of this but...

        Not to make light of this but, with all the people I know that have Android Phones or Tablets, I don't know a single person, personally that has actually been infected by any of these...

        Also, this isn't like Windows, Malware doesn't drive by on Android.
  • Massive Adrian? Being a click vvh0r3 again?

    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
  • test

  • F-Secure... F-SECURE? F-SECURE?!

    are they a non-profit polling organization? an IT company that deals with security issues? Nope.. you chose to base an article on a security software company that sells .. no,,, make that makes a profit based only upon selling said security software alone... they may be experts in the field but could they possibly have motive to iterate this report? are there names to all this malware? exactly what harm has it done to users? because, seriously, i would like to know. that is why i clicked on the article_ to learn something_ unfortunately the only thing i learned is to not click on your articles anymore..
    I am not arguing for or against i am just questioning your journalistic integrity.
    If you have nothing to write about then don't write rather than publish FUD.
    I just wish i had not added to your click count because evidently that is what your salaries are based on. Won't happen again though.
  • ok

    scaremongering much?
    Scarface Claw