Malware creators unleashing destructive apps on unsuspecting victims’ PCs and mobile devices have developed a bizarre fixation on Google’s Android platform that power millions of smartphones and tablets from dozens of vendors.
Security experts at antivirus company Symantec say in a new report that nearly a million Android apps are really malware.
Malware is said to account for 17% of all Android apps.
Symantec’s conclusions detailed in volume 20 of its Internet Security Threat Report were driven by a study of 6.3 million Android apps.
Ransomware Targets Mobil Devices
In the study, Symantec also discovered the first instance of mobile crypto-ransomware for Android devices.
Traditionally targeted at desktop computers, ransomware are malware that encrypt users data and hold it hostage until a ransom is paid.
Ransomware attacks grew 113% in 2014.
More than a third of all mobile apps were “grayware” or “madware” (mobile software designed to bombard users with ads).
In 2014, over 317 million new pieces of malware were created, i.e. nearly one million per day!
Symantec found malware continuing to grow in both quality and quantity.
Also, malware authors are finding new platforms to feast on and new ways to avoid detection.
Apparently, 28% of malware last year was “virtual machine aware” suggesting that virtual environments do not provide any level of protection.
In a worrying development, 60% of malware attacks were targeted against small and medium organizations. These outfits usually lack the capabilities to defend themselves against malware such as zero-day attacks where vulnerabilities in major software from Microsoft, Adobe, Apple, and Lenovo and others are still unpatched.