Kaspersky Counts Over 10 Million Malicious Android Applications

Paul Lilly

Android is by far the biggest target of mobile malware

Security firm Kaspersky says it has logged 10 million dubious Android applications to date. It comes down to a numbers game for cyber criminals, and since Android is the most popular mobile operating system on the planet  -- market research firm Canalys estimates that Android accounted for 80 percent of smartphones shipped in 2013 -- it attracts the most attention from malware writers.

"In most cases malicious programs target the user’s financial information. This was the case, for example, with the mobile version of Carberp Trojan that originated in Russia," Kaspersky explains . "It steals user credentials as they are sent to a bank server."

Kaspersky also notes that over 98 percent of mobile malware is aimed at Android -- no other OS gets anywhere close, the security firm says. While Android's market share plays a big role, the prevalence of third-party app stores and Android's open architecture both play roles in the reason why it's such a popular target.

"We do not expect this trend to change in the near future," Kaspersky says.

SMS Trojans lead the way, followed by backdoor malware. Furthermore, Kaspersky says 62 percent of malicious applications are elements of mobile botnets.

So, what can you do? Kaspersky offers up a handful of tips, such as recommending against activating the "developer mode" on Android devices. The security outfit also warns against installing applications from third-party sources and carefully studying the rights that seemingly legitimate apps request. And of course Kaspersky recommends using protection software.

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