Android Is Still the King of Mobile Malware

According to F-Secure’s “Q1 2014 Mobile Threat Report”, the Android operating system was the main target of 99% of new mobile malware in Q1 2014. The report states that between January 1 and March 31, F-Secure discovered 275 new malware threat families for Android, compared to just one for iOS and one for Symbian. In the same report from Q1 2013, F-Secure identified 149 malware threat families with 91% of them targeting Android. Not only are malware threats proliferating, but the amount of malware specifically targeting Android devices is also increasing.

It’s true that Android malware is becoming more advanced and harder to mitigate. But all the same, the numbers tell a bleak story for Android users. Why are there so many more malware threat families for Android than for iOS? The advantage iOS has over Android in terms of malware protection is Apple’s App store, where all applications are fully vetted and tested before public release. This system has had a significant impact on preventing malware infections for iOS users. Since a large number of Android apps come from third-party sources, it’s more difficult for Google to monitor and control all of the Android apps being downloaded by consumers. As long as Android continues to allow users to download apps from third parties where “criminal developers” can distribute their applications, we’re likely to continue to see an increase in the number of Android malware threats. It will be interesting to see what F-Secure’s Q2 report brings.