Android Malware Up 472% since July 2011, Free Security Solutions Almost Useless
Article by George Norman
On 18 Nov 2011
Here are some bad news for the many, many people out there who have an Android-powered device. Some 550,000 Android devices are activated on a daily basis, in case you were wondering. According to Google there are more than 190 million Android devices out there and according to Canalys, independent technology focused analyst house, Android has a 48% smartphone market share. But I digress. Let’s get back to the news.

The first bad news comes from the Juniper Networks Global Threat Center: in a nutshell, the amount of malware that targets Android-powered devices is growing at a very rapid pace. Juniper Networks uncovered that Android malware in the Android Market went up a staggering 472% since the month of July, 2011. Or to put it in other words, the amount of malware that targets Android-powered devices has increased five-fold (almost) since July.

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Juniper Networks points the finger at Google for this and blames the company’s lax approval process for the increase of malware in the Android Market. There’s no malware in the App Store because Apple has a very strict review process and doesn’t let just anyone in. Google has a more laxed approach aimed at helping developers get their product online. Unfortunately the bad guys take advantage of this and put malware up on the Android Market.

“The main reason for the malware epidemic on Android is because of different approaches that Apple and Google take to police their application stores. Android’s open applications store model, which the lacks code signing and an application review process that Apple requires, makes it easy for attackers to distribute their malware. There is still no upfront review process in the official Android Market that offers even the hint of a challenge to malware writers that their investment in coding malware will be for naught,” said Juniper Networks.

As if the fact that Android malware is exploding isn’t bad enough, more bad news comes from Kaspersky Lab, developer of security software that protects against malware, hackers and spam and one of the largest antivirus companies in Europe. While touting the fact that its Kaspersky Mobile Security product did very well in tests performed by AV-Test.org and that Kaspersky Mobile Security’s performance was used as a reference point for a number of free security solutions available for smartphones, it revealed that the most popular free security solutions out there are practically useless. Kaspersky Lab said that the most popular free security products for Android lulled the users into a false sense of protection and put them in danger. Their performance was dismal – 30% failed to detect even a single malicious program. The best of them only managed an 80% success rate.

The bottom line is that according to Juniper Networks there’s more and more malware that targets Android-powered devices out there. And according to Kaspersky Lab and AV-Test.org, the free security solutions for Android that are out there do little to protect you.



Tags: Google, Android, Security, Juniper Networks, Kaspersky Lab
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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Android Malware Up 472% since July 2011, Free Security Solutions Almost Useless
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