According to IT security outfit Kaspersky, which has just published details of the information security landscape as it was shaped during 2012, 99% of all mobile malware threats now target Android devices.

With 6300 new mobile malware samples discovered every month on average across 2012, Android has become the focus for the criminal fraternity for a second year in a row. The remaining 1% of threats, in case you wondered, were mainly targeting Java and Symbian-based smartphones.

Across 2012 as a whole, Kaspersky reports, the number of known malicious samples on the Android platform increased "explosively" compared to the previous year. "From just eight new unique malicious programs in January 2011" Kaspersky says "the average monthly discovery rate for new Android malware in 2011 rose to more than 800 samples".

Looking at the statistics more closely, the Android malware threat can be pretty much split into three distinct functional groups: SMS Trojans (premium-rate number scams), Backdoor Trojans (installing a channel to distribute further malware) and Spyware (collecting private data). The most widespread of which are the SMS Trojans, although Kaspersky warns the much less widespread mobile banking Trojans are actually far more dangerous in terms of financial impact to the user.

And the reason that Android finds itself in this position? Well that's simple, and twofold: it's now far and away the most popular smartphone and tablet device platform for one, and it allows software installation from untrusted sources for the second. You could add a third, I guess, which is that malware finding a way into the official Google Play distribution channel has also become a big problem.

A good example of the latter being the FakeRun Trojan family. This takes the form of a 'dummy application' which exists only to display ads, ads that earn money for the application creator. Take 'Trojan.AndroidOS.FakeRun.a' which appeared on Google Play last year and required users to give it both a five-star rating and to share information about the app on Facebook before it would actually start!

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Let be little fair and ask, how many of the companies develop security apps for iPhone/iPad? Is Apple open about their security issues as Android community?

Good call Peter. If you have an Android device it's in your best interest to obtain a firewall/security app for it as well. Any device that can access the web from desktop to mobile is vulnerable.

Wow! I didn't realize there were big security issues with Android at the moment. I thought the Android "sandbox" concept was supposed to increase security greatly? On the bright side, it simply means Android is the place to be coding as opposed to iOS. It's hard to beat free.

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