Security firm F-Secure, which today released its 40-page Threat Report for the second half of 2013 said that the situation has become bad.
Android malware rose from 238 threats in 2012 to 804 new families and variants in 2013. Apart from Symbian, F-Secure found no new threats for other mobile platforms last year.
To be fair Android threats come from the strangest places. Of the top 10 countries reporting Android malware detections to F-Secure’s systems in the second half of 2013, 75 percent of the reports originated from Saudi Arabia and India; in comparison, the five European countries in the list combined only accounted for a little over 15 percent of reported detections.
The other problem is that Android has become so popular that Malware writers have more of an interest in mounting attacks on it.
F-Secure adds that despite the extreme focus of malware authors on the Android platform, F-Secure believes it would be incorrect to say that Google hasn’t been doing anything about it.
Only 0.1% of those virus threats were found on Google Play which suggests that third-party app stores are the most likely sources of mobile malware.
The top four stores are Anzhi, Mumayi, Baidu and eoeMarket, which all cater to the mainland Chinese user population that has restricted access to Google Play, less than 10 percent of the samples were identified as malicious. But at the very bottom of the list was Google Play itself, with the lowest percentage of malware in the gathered samples: 0.1 percent. F-Secure also noted that “the Play Store is most likely to promptly remove nefarious applications, so malware encountered there tends to have a short shelf life.”