Android may be dominating the mobile OS market, however, it’s not winning the battle against malware. A recent F-Secure report revealed a drop in malware targeting the Symbian platform in Q4 2012, but reported an increase in Android malware. What was Android’s share of malware threats last year? We’ll reveal the answers and provide details.
F-Secure’s recent Mobile Threat Report disclosed that 301 total new threat families and variants were detected in 2012. Android malware was responsible for 79 percent of all threats for the year, an increase from 66 percent in 2011. Malware targeting Symbian decreased to 19 percent in 2012, down from 29 percent in 2011. In 2010 these numbers were a lot different.
“Malware in general has a parasitic relationship with its host,” said F-Secure Labs Security Advisor Sean Sullivan. “As old Symbian handsets continue to be replaced by those with other operating systems, especially Android, Symbian malware dies off and will probably go extinct in 2013. May it rest in peace.”
Symbian malware accounted for 62 percent of threats in 2010, Android only 11 percent. While the change in numbers can be explained by many factors, one thing is for sure: Android has some work to do in 2013. A large share of the Android threats found in Q4 2012 came from malware that generated profit through fraudulent SMS practices. Premium SMS contributed to 21 of the 96 Android threat variants. Other Android threats employ similar tactics, signing up the victim to an SMS-based subscription service.
Sullivan, however, does see a positive outlook for Android with regards to trojans. He expects that Google’s release of Android 4.2 Jellybean late last year will decrease mobile malware in 2013. The extra security prompts when downloading in 4.2 should help deflect trojans, he explained.