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Android threats to top one million by year's end

23 Jan 2013
Google Android

Security firm Trend Micro has predicted the number of threats targeting the Android mobile operating system will pass the one million mark by the end of 2013.

The increase would represent a near tripling of the number of threats currently known to be targeting Android.

Trend Micro reported that at the end of 2012 it had detected roughly 350,000 threats targeting Google's operating system.

The figure means that it has taken Android just three years to boast the same number of threats it took PCs 14 years to reach.

"2012 was a year of real evolution in traditional threat and evolution into new platforms and geographies," said Trend Micro vice president of security research, Rik Ferguson.

"The mobile threat has come of age, criminals are already moving their operations into former developing internet economies and have devoted a lot of effort to hardening their point and click attack toolkits to evade detection by security vendors.

"We must continue to track and anticipate these developments in the security industry."

The report also revealed that Android users are seeming unconcerned about the threat facing them. Trend Micro reported only one in five current Android devices have a security service installed.

Ferguson warned that criminals will likely begin to use Android as a springboard to target other new platforms.

"Android is already the criminals mobile OS of choice as these reports demonstrate, it is not too much of a stretch to think of criminals looking for ways to exploit other connected devices in the future," said Ferguson.

"If there's a financial incentive, whether that is hacking what you can see to influence your behaviour by pushing criminal scams, selling your behavioural and consumption data or stealing your electricity supply, they will do it."

Trend Micro's comments follow on from the discovery of several new Android malware strains.

Most recently competitor Symantec released a report claiming the Android.Exprespam spam had managed to infect multiple thousands of devices two weeks after it began operating.

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Alastair Stevenson
About

Alastair has worked as a reporter covering security and mobile issues at V3 since March 2012. Before entering the field of journalism Alastair had worked in numerous industries as both a freelance copy writer and artist.

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