Cyber analyst team Trend Micro has warned us that by 2014, the count of malicious software created for Android will surpass the 1 million mark. To recap on why this is such a big deal and a problem, let's reference back to articles in the past two years about how Android is one of the most unsecure platforms on the market.
- Google Rated Most Vulnerable to Attack
- Androids Hijacked by Innocent-Looking Apps
- Android's Security Problems Get Worse, Apple Avoids Attacks
- Google's Open App Policy Strikes Again, Now on Computers
- Major Security Vulnerability in Android Apps, Could Affect 185 Million Users
The report from Trend Micro also indicated that in 2012, "the Android platform (was) five times ahead of Windows on the number of created malicious software for it." That's some serious Nigerian scamming going on in the Android platform. Trend Micro also said that in the last three years, Android has matched the amount of malware for Windows that has been created for the past 14 years. That alone should be enough reason for anyone to switch operating systems, and fast.
It should be no shock that this prediction is so high, though. As it stands, Android currently runs about 80 percent of the entire smartphone ecosystem around the globe, up 70 percent from last year. Android also has one of the most lax processes for publishing an app, with very little safeguards. Combine all of that with the fact that only about 20 percent of Android users have some sort of security software on their device and you have a disaster waiting to happen. And it really does come down to the user not paying attention to what he or she is downloading. It is reported that almost half of the malware discovered in the second quarter of this year alone has to do with a user downloading some sort of app that sends expensive texts or calls, letting the creators of the app to rake in all the money. To further that, as we've covered in the show multiple times, a quarter of the malware involves stealing user data, either remotely or right upon download of the app from the market. Plus, there's also the new trend of hackers coming up with clever ways for apps to sneak into social media and automatically post viral news articles that lead to malicious sites, in hopes that your friends will click on them.
From the report, Trend Micro's VP of technology solutions, JD Sherry, said,
Due to the fractured nature of the Android network, it is very difficult for patches to reach all users in an effective time frame. In some cases, users will never get patches as vendors leave their customers at risk of attack. Until we have the same urgency to protect mobile devices as we have for protecting PCs, this very real threat will continue to grow rapidly. At the rate this malware is accelerating - almost exponentially - we appear to be reaching a critical mass. To fight this, Android users need to take great care when using their devices and take the simple, but effective, step of adding security software to all mobile devices.
I guess fragmentation was an issue after all. Does this information, along with all of the other Android vulnerability stories, detract you from purchasing an Android device? Are you going to switch from Android to a more secure operating system? Why or why not? We want to know in the comments below.