NQ Mobile: 95 Percent Of All Mobile Malware Afflicts Android OS

By | April 23, 2013

Posted in: Network Security Trends

Mobile malware threats increased 163% to more than 65,000 in 2012, according to a new report by NQ Mobile.

This huge year-to-year spike in threats are mostly impacting a single operating system, with nearly 95 percent of all mobile malware discovered in 2012 targeting the Android OS, according to NQ Mobile, its 2012 Security Report is based on insights from its Security Labs, as well as data collected from its global malware database, scanning engines and its network of hundreds of millions of registered users.es and its network of hundreds of millions of registered users.

An estimated an 32.8 million Android devices in 2012 -- an increase of over 200 percent from 2011, according to the report.

Let's place this into some sort of perspective: As of last September, there were 500 million Android devices operating globally (with an estimated 1.3 million activated each day), based on Android's figures. This would indicate that roughly 4 percent of all Android phones contain some sort of malware.

A relatively small, but fast growing, number of the user population.

This figure is still enough to raise alarm bells for Omar Khan , Co-CEO of NQ Mobile, who said in a press statement that new systems are needed to thwart these threats.

"The security industry's 'discover-first-and-inoculate-second' strategy is no longer enough," Khan said. "We need smarter systems that can discover threats before they infect consumers as well as more education so consumers can better spot and avoid these new mobile scams."

The NQ Mobile survey also found that:

  • "The top five markets for infected mobile devices were China (25.5%), India (19.4%), Russia (17.9%), United States (9.8%) and Saudi Arabia (9.6%)

  • "65% of malware discovered in 2012 falls into a broader category of Potentially Unwanted Programs (or PUPs). PUPs include root exploits, spyware, pervasive adware and Trojans (surveillance hacks)

  • "28% of mobile malware discovered in 2012 was designed to collect and profit from a user's personal data

  • "7% of malware was simply designed to make a user's device stop working (i.e., "bricking" their phones)

This year isn't shaping up much better for mobile users. Looking ahead, NQ Mobile estimates that over 10 million devices have already been infected in the first quarter of 2013.

With Gartner forecasting that by 2013 mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide and that by 2015 over 80 percent of the handsets sold in mature markets will be smartphones, this trend shows no signs of slowing.

For a complete copy of the report, click HERE [PDF].

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