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Malicious Activity Catches Wave of Android Popularity

by Bitdefender Security Specialists, on 22 February 2012

Android may have arrived late to the mobile operating system party, but it quickly made up for lost time. While old-school OSs running on smartphones such as the good-old Symbian have faded away, Android’s adoption rate has become so steep that it’s now on 53% of the worldwide mobile devices, including tablets, as revealed in the Q3 2011 Gartner Report.

Unlike its main competitors, Apple and Windows Mobile, its open architecture and the less restrictive requirements for third-party application development have made it the operating system of choice for a wide range of mobile phone and tablet vendors.

With a choice of over 400,000 applications at hand on the Android Market – collectively downloaded more than 10 billion times by now - Android has opened a huge niche for cyber-criminals, who have started developing both conventional e-threats (Trojans and spyware focused on information theft or device control) as well as dialers and premium-rate SMS senders that make fortunes for their masters at the expense of smartphone users.

The past six months have seen a significant increase in malicious activity on the Android front. Bitdefender Mobile Security statistics reveal that more than 100 new malware families were detected in 2011, as compared to the 3 to 4 malware strains in 2010. Among these newly discovered e-threats are both exploits that attempt to root the device and lay the ground for further malware, but also highly-advanced malware with polymorphic capabilities.

Malicious activity since July 2011

 
In light of the past year, it would be safe to assume that Android malware is here to stay. It’s estimated that, by the end of 2014, mobile Internet usage should overtake desktop Internet usage, and threats related to social networking, e-banking and everything else will increase accordingly, making Android security an imperative.
 
If you’d like to know more about the evolution of Android malware in 2011 and about the severity of e-threats for mobiles, join us at the Mobile World Congress that will take place in Barcelona next week.

Bitdefender Security Specialists

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Authors

  • Bitdefender Security Specialists
    Bitdefender Labs
  • Catalin Cosoi
    Chief Security Researcher
  • Dan Lowe
    Dan Lowe, an OEM Senior Marketing Manager, has been working with Bitdefender for the last 3 ½ years. His familiarity with multiple security products from Firewalls to Antivirus has provided him a unique perspective on the security industry.
  • Ligia Adam
    Security Evangelist and Social Media Professional
  • Loredana Botezatu
    Loredana Botezatu – E-threat Analyst – Loredana has been writing about the IT world and e-security for well over five years. She has made a personal goal out of educating computer users about the ins and outs of the cybercrime ecosystem.

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