More than 99 percent of all malware designed for mobile devices targets Android devices, Olaf Pursche, Head of Communications at AV-TEST explains in the F-Secure State of Cyber Security 2017. “There are over 19 million malware programs developed especially for Android, making Google’s mobile operating system the main target for mobile malware,” he writes. “The reason for this is the vast distribution of Android devices, as well as the relatively open system for the distribution of apps.”
19 million sounds like a lot of malware — and it is!
But Android still only represents 8% of the total malware detected by operating system, with two-thirds of all threats still targeting Windows PCs. But Pursche notes that the while the most common Android malware is still classic trojans, the “full spectrum” of threats that target PCs now targets Android devices, including “viruses, worms, malicious scripts, backdoors, and special trojans like ransomware.”
And while Android’s “relatively open system” of app distribution compared the iOS App Store’s more rigid “walled garden” approach are the main reason that Android is the almost exclusive focus of mobile malware developers, there’s another reason that your Android is such a promising target for online criminals — operating system updates.
“Data from F-Secure Freedome analytics show that Apple’s iOS distribution and upgrade model is far superior to Android’s,” the F-Secure State of Cyber Security 2017 reports.
The latest iOS 10.2 update could already be detected on more than half of iOS devices after just one month. “On the other hand, Android 7, ‘Nougat’, which had been on the market for four months prior to these figures being collected, had a measly 1 percent uptake rate.”
Most Android users are running Android operating systems 4 and 5, which are no longer supported by Google. “This all adds up to great news for attackers, who can rely on the fact that large numbers of vulnerable Android devices exist in the wild.”