Android still rules the roost for mobile security threats

Android Jellybean
It's not all chocolate and candy inside Android

Android might dominate the smartphone market, but that position comes at the price of being the most targeted platform for mobile security threats.

A new report by F-Secure shows that over 99 per cent of new mobile threats detected by the security firm in the first quarter of 2014 were on Android.

Of the 277 new threat families and variants discovered in the first three months of this year, 275 of them targeted Android, while one aimed at iPhone and the last went for Symbian.

The rate of malware is increasing dramatically. To put this into perspective, the first quarter of 2013 saw just 149 new threat families and variants, and only 91 per cent of them focused on Android.

New threats

F-Secure found that hackers have developed increasingly sophisticated and complex attacks and exploits on Android, including the first bootkit, first Tor trojan, and first Windows banking trojan.

In March it was discovered that some apps in Google Play were hosting hidden cryptocurrency miners. The Internet of Things is also not immune to this growing threat, which can substantially slow down devices.

"These developments give us signs to the direction of malware authors," said Mikko Hyppönen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure. "We'll very likely see more of these in the coming months. For example, mobile phones are getting more powerful, making it possible for cybercriminals to profit by using them to mine for cryptocurrencies."

F-Secure found that the UK had the highest level of mobile malware in the first quarter.