The Android operating system accounted for 79 percent of all malware
infections on smartphones, and the threat is multiplying, a security
firm said Thursday.
Finland-based F-Secure said in a report that the
free Google operating system, which has been gaining smartphone market
share globally, has become the dominant platform targeted by hackers.
quarter, malware authors bring forth new threat families and variants
to lure more victims and to update on the existing ones," the F-Secure
quarterly report said.
"In the fourth quarter alone, 96 new
families and variants of Android threats were discovered, which almost
doubles the number recorded in the previous quarter."
other platform with any significant share of malware was Symbian, the
system dropped by Nokia, which F-Secure said accounted for 19 percent.
major platforms including Apple's iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone
each had less than one percent of mobile phone infections.
iOS, Windows Mobile, they may see some threats popping up once in a
while. But most likely, the threats are intended for multiple
platforms," the report noted.
F-Secure said some of the threats
included "shady SMS-sending practices" that can sign up victims to an
SMS-based subscription service.
Other malware includes banking
trojans, designed to steal passwords for online accounts and transfer
money from the victims' accounts.
One of these, called
Eurograbber, came as a PC virus but tricked users into installing a
version on their mobile device, and has been linked to the theft of $47
million from European customers, F-Secure said.
The report said
Android malware has outpaced its share of the overall market. While its
market share rose to 68.8 percent in 2012, its malware share rose to 79
percent from 66.7 percent the previous year.