In the PC-era, one of Apple’s claims to fame was that the risk of viruses, malware and the like were limited with its computers. Now, with the way things are shaping up, the same may be true when comparing iPhones to Androids.
A study by Juniper Networks found that since July, the Android mobile devices saw a nearly fivefold increase in threats from spyware and viruses.
Juniper didn’t disclose actual numbers. Yet Kaspersky Labs, a producer of anti-virus software, reports that by the end of October its researchers detected 1,919 malicious Android programs. It was the first time Android surpassed Java’s Micro Edition to become the biggest target of mobile malware.
Juniper says most Android threats originate from apps available from sites not affiliated with Google’s Android Market. Since Apple maintains strict control of its App Store, this threat doesn’t exist for Apple. Plus, creating malware is easier with Android software because applications aren’t checked and the source code is open, says Juniper’s Dan Hoffman.
These new vulnerabilities have given rise to a relatively new mobile security market, which IDC expects to expand 15.1 percent annually. “Sure, the biggest threat right now is losing your phone in a cab, but that’s not for long,” notes Tim Armstrong from Kaspersky Labs in PC Mag. “The ROI for Android malware is enormous, so you can see why Android is the prime target right now.”