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Stark rise in Android malware

  • Posted by Michael Carroll
  • July 9, 2012 4:32 PM BST

Trend Micro has just released some stark statistics regarding malware for the Android smartphone operating system.

Not to beat about the bush, it found 5,000 new pieces of malicious code for the platform during the first quarter of 2012, a figure that comprises 50% of all new smartphone viruses discovered during the period.

We all know that Android is the fastest-growing smartphone platform at the moment, so it's clearly the best target for hackers and writers of malicious code. However, what really strikes me is that this malware is being concealed in apps which, combined with a general lack of interest in security applications among consumers, could mean smartphone viruses are finally becoming a reality after years of warnings of the dangers to connected devices.

Trend Micro also points out that some pieces of malicious code have been downloaded several thousand times before the offending app was kicked out of the respective app stores. So the onus seems to be on end-users to make sure they're downloading the right application from an approved source, and then double check the file extensions involved to ensure the authenticity of the service they're accessing.

I think we're all well aware of the dangers of viruses and malicious code on our PCs, but for some reason consumers don't seem to recognize the growing danger to their smartphone. I'd be the first to admit that talk of smartphone viruses has perhaps been overplayed in the past (name one serious attack that's spread like PC versions, for example), but I'm not too proud to admit that the potential for financial loss is now growing inline with growing usage of smart devices and mobile apps.

I'm sticking with my dumb phone for the time being.