2013 was a year of records, and not all of them were the most positive. Thanks to a report from Cisco, we know that our predictions were right, and that our beloved Android OS was the target for 99% of all mobile malware, which is up from the 79% we had in 2012, as well as receiving the highest encounter rate with web-delivered malware, falling in at 71% which is about 3.5 times higher than our iOS comrades. However, while those numbers seem bad, the means of achieving those numbers sheds some light on things. First off, Android was the only major open platform studies for this report. The other devices that were looked at consisted of the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, Nokia, Symbian, iPod, Huawei, Windows Phone, Motorola, Playstation, Nook, the Zune Windows Player, Kindle, and Windows CE. The entire study, called the Cisco 2014 Annual Security Report, is public information.
The biggest source of malware on our Android devices comes from something known as SMSSend, a well-known trojan that has been around for quite a while. This trojan is the cause for 98% of the Android malware we see today, and is clearly a major problem. However, there is a very simple way to combat this. The trojan is found when apps are downloaded and installed from outside the Play Store. Needless to say, while there are many apps that could be useful that you can acquire this way, it is equally important that you be cautious. The old adage ‘it’s too good to be true’ is very much correct in this case. If you are looking for an app from outside the Play Store and it seems suspicious, then it most likely is. Do not download and install this app if you do not want malware on your device. As long as Android is an open platform, there will always be malware. The report does not actually break down the information into geographies, or what apps cause the problems. They also did not state exactly how much malware there is out there, instead just saying that us Android users face 99% of it. While the statistics may seem alarming, it is important to put it in perspective, and to keep in mind that if you are a safe Android user who does not install outside applications, then the threat to you is as minimal as it could be. If you are a very concerned user, there are certain apps out there on the Play Store that will help protect you from malware. Have any thoughts or concerns on this topic? Let us know in the comments!