Security firm Lookout, which collects information from over ten million devices globally via integration with over 700,000 apps, reported Thursday an 85 percent increase in the number of devices infected with malware among its monitored users, citing that Android users are 2.5 times as likely to fall victim to malware than just six months ago.
At the beginning of the year, there was only as many as 80 apps infected with malware on Android, but that number soared to over 400 by June. iOS, on the other hand, is protected because there are no apps on the App Store that contain malware or spyware. There are hijacked links and download packages that can be harmful to jailbroken iOS users, however, but that is out of the realm of Apple’s control. The Cupertino-based company already does it best to patch existing vulnerabilities to ensure the security of its mobile operating system and its users.
For Android, malicious developers tend to repackage legitimate applications with malware, and then re-release them on third party app stores. Android users are also susceptible to “update attacks,” as Lookout notes. “Recently, malware writers have begun using application updates as an attack method in the Android Market. A malware writer first releases a legitimate application containing no malware. Once they have a large enough user base, the malware writer updates the application with a malicious version.”
The firm also notes that iOS users are more informed about the possibility of malicious threats, and therefore take more preventative measures to ensure the security of their device. Apple also takes several preventative measures themselves, including their extremely tight App Store approval process, and this helps to keep iPhone users secure. “Apple iPhones are much less susceptible to malware partly because more stringent oversight from Apple keeps iPhone owners out of harm’s way. The open sourced-based Android phones are much more susceptible to malware however it appears that fewer Android owners are aware of this.”