Android malware is booming

Trend Micro’s January prediction that some 11,000 pieces of Android malware will be detected by June this year has proved completely inaccurate, as the number of malicious applications in the wild for Google’s mobile OS has exploded and now reaches over 25,000.

Given this unwelcome and drastic increase, the fact that only one in five Android users has a security solution installed on his or hers device is very worrying.

48 percent of all these malicious apps are premium service abusers, followed by 22 percent that are adware and a 21 percent of data stealers. Malicious downloaders are offered in 19 percent of the cases, while rooters, click fraudsters and spying tools are at the bottom of the ladder.

The apps are pushed onto users through third-party online stores and even the official Google Play app store – despite filtering and scanning efforts from Google itself. More often than not masquerade as legitimate and popular software such as Angry Birds, Skype and Instagram.

This unexpected boom in Android malware made the researchers revise their expectations for 2012, and they believe that we might be looking at a total of 129,000 different malicious apps by the end of the year.

“Treat your mobile as you would your desktop,” they advise. “Apps remain the most common way your Android phone and the data stored in it can be compromised, so be discerning and responsible with the apps you choose to download.”

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