In the last three months the number of new Android-specific malware has risen sharply. In comparison, J2ME (Java Micro Edition) suffered only a third as much malware.
According to the report, “This quarter Android OS-based malware became the most popular target for mobile malware developers. That’s a rapid rise for Android, which outpaces second place Java Micro Edition threefold.”
Intentionally modifying popular apps to carry malware is still a popular way of infecting devices. By corrupting a legitimate app or game unsuspecting users will download and install malware on their smart phones by themselves without the attacker needing to find an exploit in the underlying OS.
“This increase in threats to such a popular platform should make us evaluate our behavior on mobile devices and the security industry’s preparedness to combat this growth,” says the report.
The “open” aspects of the Android ecosystem with its multiple app stores is the main reason this type of malware infection can happen. Although Apple’s app store admission policies are often seen as restrictive and draconian, its closed and moderated nature means that it is very hard for malware writers to get infected aplications into the app store.