A study published this week has claimed that 99 per cent of mobile security threats that emerged in the first quarter of the year were targeted towards the Android platform.
Security software provider F-Secure said that its labs tested hundreds of thousands of mobile app samples in 1Q14 and analysed whether or not they contained malicious code. It found that almost 14 per cent of all Android apps tested were malicious Android apps, and it also found that 275 new threats that run on the platform. The firm only found one threat on each of the iOS and Symbian platforms.
“Mobile malware development in 1Q14 continues to focus exclusively on the Android platform, continuing the inexorable trend we’ve seen in the last couple years,” the security firm wrote in its 1Q14 Threat Landscape Summary.
It added that the vast majority of the malicious Android samples that it analysed were Trojan programs and that almost 83 per cent of these sent SMS messages covertly.
However, the firm also found that the latest version of Android, Jellybean 4.2, saw the introduction of a notification prompt for SMS messages that are sent to premium-rate numbers. This gives the users the option to block such SMS messages being sent from their handset.
“If your Android device isn’t using OS version 4.2, consider requesting a call or SMS barring service from your operator to prevent unwanted outgoing calls or messages. This is especially handy for parents who want to keep their children’s devices from racking up unexpected charges,” F-Secure added.
The study also revealed that during the quarter, more users from the UK discovered and blocked malicious software on their Android handset than any other country. US, Indian, German, Saudi Arabian and Dutch users also reported a notable level of malware being detected and blocked, the security firm added.
F-Secure also noted that, at present, the number of mobile malware threats is “miniscule” in comparison to PC-based threats.