Android by far the most common host for mobile malware, says report

30 Apr 2014

Android remains, by far, the most common target for mobile malware, the latest report highlighting the vulnerability of different operating systems suggests.

According to research from F-Secure, Android is almost exclusively the end target for those looking to send their malware to different devices, with 275 out of the 277 malware families occurring on the operating system, while the remaining two are seen in iOS and Symbian.

Android, the Google-designed operating system, is the most widely used and programmable of all the operating systems.

The report from F-Secure covers findings from the first quarter of this year. It found malware was also the most dominant form of mobile attack seen on devices, making up 91pc, compared with the 9pc of potential unwanted applications (PUA) that would come with seemingly legitimate apps.

While hundreds of different families of malware exist that have been attacking Android devices, a large majority – 76pc to be exact – are related to the 10 largest strains of malware, which could potentially make it easier to combat.

Even then, of this 76pc, 45pc is from the FakeInst family, which sends fake SMS messages to premium phone numbers.

Many of these pieces of malware in Q1 2014 were found to all engage in the same type of actions once installed on a person’s phone, 88pc of which had the aim of making the writer of that malware money.

That percentage marks an increase on the previous quarter, which saw only 65pc of malware engaging in money-making processes.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic