98 Percent of Mobile Malware is Aimed at Android Users

mobile malware study

Ninety-eight percent of mobile malware is aimed at Android users, a report from security experts Kaspersky Labs says.

This is largely because of the popularity of the platform. But the study also notes the “vulnerability” of Android’s architecture as a reason the mobile operating system is vulnerable. And most of this malware is aimed at stealing money, including targeting credit card information.

The report also says the mobile malware economy has moved from individual actors to more organized groups of programmers and developers mostly designing malware for profit.

The study notes:

“It is safe to say that today’s cybercriminal is no longer a lone hacker but part of a serious business operation. There are various types of actors involved in the mobile malware industry: virus writers, testers, interface designers of both the malicious apps and the Web pages they are distributed from, owners of the partner programs that spread the malware, and mobile botnet owners.”

According to the study, a total of 143,211 new modifications of malicious programs targeting mobile devices were detected last year. Also, nearly 4 million installation packages were used by cyber criminals to distribute mobile malware. In the last two years, Kaspersky has identified 10 million unique malicious installation packages.

Malware is spread primarily through apps downloaded from third party sites other than Google Play though a recent report also indicates the amount of Google malware on Google’s store is also increasing.

Of course, being aware that your mobile device is nearly as vulnerable as your computer is the first step in protecting your business from being the next victim to an attack. We’ve recently noted that although mobile devices are increasingly being targeted, device makers are investing in defenses, too.

Image: Securelist/Kaspersky

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

8 Reactions
  1. Is it just me or do some of Google’s products tend to be particularly vulnerable? Adware on Google Chrome ad extensions, the Flash player vulnerability issue, and now malware on Android? What is it about the way Google creates its products that make it vulnerable to attack? Or is it solely because of its popularity?

    • I think that popularity plays a major role in this. That’s because the goal of most malwares is to have it installed in as much devices as possible. And one of the reasons Android is more vulnerable is probably because it has weaker security. But it is not something that Google can improve on.

  2. 98%? That’s a big number but I’m still wondering that we use to hear about these attacks on iOS mostly than Android. Why newspapers are targeting iOS and leaving Android?

  3. When a report on mobile malware doesn’t mention the words “iOS”, “Apple” or “iPhone” anywhere in the report it makes me wonder if the data just wasn’t available because of the walled garden, thus creating a severely biased report.

  4. Is this an Android issue or is it Google based? I don’t want to switch away from my Android phones and tablets, but I am doing much more on them than ever before and want security for my accounts.