Malware is nothing new, and users have been aware of its ability to attack devices for years. What may be surprising is just how much malware discoveries are growing in mobile devices, particularly in Android devices.
Mobile service provider NQ Mobile released a new study today, taking a look at malware trends in 2012. The company used data taken from its Security Labs and found that malware threats on mobile platforms grew 163 percent in 2012, totaling more than 65,000 identified infections. Attacks included app repackaging, malicious URLs and SMS phishing.
NQ’s study also found that Android devices are the most prone to attacks, with the report suggesting more than 32.8 million Android devices were infected over the course of 2012, which is more than a 200 percent rise from 2011. It’s worth noting however, that while the attacks may have grown, the pure number of Android devices in consumer’s hands also grew. A report from ABI research stated there were about 200 million active Android devices in early 2012 and there will be over 798 million by the end of 2013.
When it comes to country breakdown, China was the most exploited, claiming 25.5 percent of malware attacks in 2012. India saw 19.4 percent of the attacks while Russia was subject to 17.9 percent. Comparatively, the U.S. was subject to a minimal percentage with just 9.8 percent of malware infecting U.S. devices.
It looks like a scary number, but NQ is predicting it’s only going to rise, as users continue to rely more heavily on mobile devices than PCs. Additionally, new types of malware are also being detected. NQ found a previously unseen type of malware in February, which uses an Android device as a platform to launch an attack on a USB connected PC.
Contributing to the rise in malware attacks is fragmentation in mobile operating system, which NQ noted contributed to weaker security for users running older versions of the Android OS, app sideloading and a user base that’s growing younger each year.