Malware threats for the Android platform are higher than ever, according to researchers with F-Secure.
The company said that over the last quarter of 2012, Android threats accounted for nearly four-fifths of all mobile malware samples. The smartphone operating system's 79 percent share of the malware sector was up from 49 percent over the same quarter in 2012.
"Every quarter, malware authors bring forth new threat families and variants to lure more victims and to update on the existing ones," F-Secure reported.
"In the fourth quarter alone, 96 new families and variants of Android threats were discovered, which almost doubles the number recorded in the previous quarter."
According to F-Secure, premium number and service malware was the most prevalent form of Android attack. Of the 96 new variants detected on the quarter, 21 were attributed to a premium-number dialling family known as PremiumSMS.
Researchers noted that market share played a large part in determining how much of a target a platform was. Android's rising share in the mobile space has coincided with the growing number of threats.
Meanwhile, platforms which are losing market share are likewise seeing less interest from malware writers. The Symbian OS, which saw its share of the overall market fall to just three percent, saw its share of the malware market fall from 29 to 19 per cent.
"Malware in general has a parasitic relationship with its host," said security advisor Sean Sullivan.
"As old Symbian handsets continue to be replaced by those with other operating systems, especially Android, Symbian malware dies off and will probably go extinct in 2013."
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