Android malware samples have reportedly increased by a staggering 472% since July 2011.
Security experts have attributed the dramatic jump to the relatively easy process of anonymizing and posting Android apps.
“With no upfront review process, no one checking to see that your application does what it says, just the world’s largest majority of smartphone users skimming past your application’s description page with whatever description of the application the developer chooses to include,” a Juniper Networks rep wrote in a Global Threat blog post.
“Sure, your application can be removed after the fact – if someone discovers that it is actually malicious and reports it. But, how many unsuspecting people are going to download it before it is identified as malicious and removed?”
According to Juniper Networks, the majority of malicious apps currently target communications, location, and other personal information.
Indeed, of the known Android malware samples, 55% acts in one way or another as spyware. The other major type of attacks (44%), are SMS Trojans which conceal themselves in legitimate applications and send unauthorized SMS messages to premium rate numbers owned by an attacker. Once these messages are sent, the money is not recoverable, and the owners of these premium rate numbers typically remain anonymous.
Juniper Networks assesses that Android will remain the primary target of mobile malware writers around the world until cyber criminals manage to demonstrate a “tried and true” method of inserting malicious applications into Apple’s App Store.