Security company predicts 129,000 samples by the end of the year
The number of malicious apps targeting the Android ecosystem is exploding, with figures doubling in one month, according to new research from Trend Micro.
According to the security firm, 25,000 Android malware samples were detected during the second quarter of 2012, more than double the 11,000 Trend Micro had predicted. That figure was also well up on the 6,000 malware samples detected during the first quarter of the year.
Trend’s predictions for the rest of the year make startling reading for Android users. The company reckons that the third quarter will see 38,000 malware samples detected, with that figure set to rise to 129,000 during the fourth quarter of the year.
While previous warnings about Android security have suggested steering clear of unofficial apps stores, the Trend Micro research has found that the official Google Play store is also a dangerous place to go shopping.
A breach in the Google Play marketplace saw a number of malicious apps appear. Trend Micro says 17 malicious apps were downloaded over 700,000 times before they were spotted and removed from the site.
It is no surprise to see that making money is the aim of the game for most malware writers. Premium service abusers are still one of the most popular forms of malware. These sign users up to expensive SMS services without their knowledge or permission and often run undetected until the user’s bill arrives.
Trend Micro has also seen a rise in adware, which persistently pushes adverts out disguised as urgent notifications.
Rik Ferguson, Trend Micros’ director of security research, said the amount of malware targeting the Android system will continue to rise.
"The growth in Android malware demonstrates sustained and focussed criminal interest in the mobile platform and particularly in the Android operating system," he said.
"Criminals have always followed user behaviour and they continue to do so. As we move steadily to the mobile web, mobile devices offer new avenues for criminal revenue generation alongside the continuation of the old," Ferguson added.