Mobile security company NQ Mobile has published a new report that says the number of mobile malware threats increased by 163% last year to more than 65,000. Almost all of the new malware discoveries (95%) were targeted at the Android platform.
NQ Mobile estimates that 32.8 million Android devices were infected with malware last year, which is an increase of more than 200% since 2011. The three most-used methods for delivering malware were disguising it as a legitimate app, disguising malicious URLs as legitimate web sites and ‘phishing’ by sending SMS messages.
The company says mobile malware threats have continued to grow this year, with attacks becoming smarter - including the ability for malware to ‘jump’ from an Android smartphone to a PC.
Omar Khan, Co-CEO of NQ Mobile, said “The security industry’s ‘discover-first-and-inoculate-second’ strategy is no longer enough. 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.”
China topped the list for infected mobile devices (25.5%), followed by India (19.4%), Russia (17.9%), the USA (9.8%) and Saudi Arabia (9.6%).
65% of last year’s malware was described as ‘Potentially Unwanted Programs’ including root exploits, spyware, pervasive adware and Trojans (surveillance hacks). 28% was designed to collect a user’s personal data, while 7% was designed to stop a user’s device from working.
NQ Mobile estimates that over 10 million devices have already been infected with mobile viruses and other malware this year.
[2012 report (pdf)]