But Linux is popular too. Windows is still number one on the desktop, but on all other platforms Linux is on top. So, why is only Android where there's trouble? It's easy.
Android users are doing it to themselves. Android makes it far too easy to install bad software. If you want to use your Android phone or tablet safely, just obey these simple rules and you'll be much safer.
1) Don't visit, and whatever you do download, materials from suspicious Web sites
The security company Blue Coat has found that pornography is a key threat vector. "In 2012, the most dangerous place for mobile users was pornography. More than 20 percent of the time that a user went to a malicious site, they were coming from a pornography site."
So, just avoid dodgy sites and you'll avoid a lot of malware. It's that's easy.
2) Don't download programs from third-party Android stores
Juniper Networks has found that "third-party marketplaces have become a favored distribution channel for malware writers." Juniper added, "Third-party application stores are the leading source of the most common type of Android malware, fake Installers, which pose as legitimate applications."
Sure, if your carrier company or device vendor provides you with an app store, you can use it. Generally speaking, though, if you stay away from third-party Android stories and stick to the Google Play store, you'll be a lot safer.
3) Look carefully at any program before you install it to make sure it's legitimate and it only asks for necessary permissions.
So even on Google Play, look carefully at each application before you install it. Are many people using it? Does it have good reviews? Is it really from who it says it is? The Blackberry malware, for example, was successful because it said it was from RIM... but Blackberry had stopped using that name in January 2013.
You should also check the permissions of any program that you install. Why should a game, for example, need to send a text?
If you're not sure what's what with permissions, look on the Google Play site to see what the developer has to say about his or her app's permissions. It he or she doesn't have anything to say, stay away.
4) Upgrade, if possible, to the latest version of Android.
Finally, while Android anti-virus (A/V) software is not a cure-all, with so much malware out there you should no more run an Android device without A/V protection these days than you would run a Windows PC without A/V protection.
In the Februrary 2013 AV-Test Android A/V tests (PDF Link), the AV-TEST test laboratory found that 21 A/V apps "were able to achieve excellent results." These tests were run on a Samsung Galaxy Nexus with Android 4.1.2 against a reference set of nearly 1,000 pieces of malware.
I know many of you will see this as an annoyance. Let me put it to you this way: Would you rather go to some trouble now, or pay a $500 phone bill for bad SMS calls or find all your credit card numbers have been sold off to the highest bidder?
Me? I'll go to the trouble of making sure my Android devices are as safe as I can make them.