Android Phones are Catching Lots of Viruses

Android DialingIn 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.”

No Responses to “Android Phones are Catching Lots of Viruses”

  1. Jeff Burns

    There are several AV apps out there from reputable vendors: AVG, Lookout, Kaspersky, Symantec.
    What the article “hints” at but doesn’t make clear, is that the infected apps are not likely to be in the Google or Amazon App stores. The general public is still fairly safe. They are downloads from 3rd parties that you have to change a system setting in your phone to do so that you can grab apps from untrusted sources. I’m not going into it here (easy change though), but basically the chance of an average user getting infected is pretty small. The chance of an average user’s kid getting infected (on Android, iPhone’s OS or anything else) is higher if they’ve got a hacking bent without understanding what they are doing.