Symantec: Mobile Malware Almost Exclusively Targeted Android in 2013

Symantec: Mobile Malware Almost Exclusively Targeted Android in 2013

A new report released Tuesday by Symantec reveals mobile malware authors continue to target the Android platform almost exclusively. The data was included as part of the company’s annual Internet security threat report.



Attackers continue to target Android more than any other mobile operating system, according to a new report released Tuesday, as Google’s platform played host to all but one of the new mobile malware families discovered last year.

The lone non-Android malware discovery hit Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, while Apple’s iOS platform came away unscathed for the year.

Android’s various app stores continue to represent the platform’s biggest weakness.

Symantec highlighted the vulnerability of the Android app stores by noting “the release of an instant messaging application by a well-known smartphone vendor on the Android platform,” (It’s assumed this is referring to BlackBerry’s BBM app). “Attackers in turn took advantage of the popularity of the new app and released a variety of counterfeit versions bundled with adware. These apps were quickly removed from the Android marketplace, but not before accumulating a large number of downloads,” Symantec added.

Android has also been subject to attacks that see the malware authors branch out from attempts to steal users personal information to include types of attacks usually seen on desktop operating systems.

Symantec notes that the sheer size and growth rate of the Android platform makes it attractive to malware authors. It is also attractive due to the amount of personal information that is available to an app on the device. “… With the right permissions the device’s phone number, GPS coordinates, camera, and other information become readily available.”