2% of UK Android users encountered malware in 2014

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British Android users were less often exposed to traditional malware last year than in 2013, despite an increase in such incidents in the US, according to research from mobile security firm Lookout.

Trojans, worms, spyware and ransomware were encountered by a mere 2% of Britons using Android, compared to 5% the year before, while American rates of exposure went in the opposite direction, rising from 4% to 7%.

Britons also saw a steep decline in more sophisticated malware such as chargeware, which tricks users into making in-app purchases, and adware, which displays obtrusive adverts or collects excessive personal data.

While a fifth to a quarter of Android users in the UK encountered such viruses in 2013, this halved to about 10% in 2014, with chargeware the most prevalent threat overall, often combined with premium text message billing.

Jo Prowse, acting chief executive of UK regulator PhonepayPlus, said: "Mobile malware continues to pose a risk to consumers and the digital economy but, as Lookout’s latest report shows, effective regulation in partnership with the information security industry can make a real difference."

Lookout analysed data from 60 million of its customers to produce the research, weighting results for variance in how long devices were used.

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