A recent report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security highlights the fact that Google’s Android platform accounts for the vast majority of mobile malware. The report warns government agencies that Android phones should have antivirus software installed as a precaution. To be more specific, 44% of Android users were reported to be running an outdated version of the operating system known as “Gingerbread,” which includes a number of security issues.
The data which is cited by Homeland Security is based on 2012 malware statistics published by F-Secure, which revealed that Android is responsible for 79% of mobile malware. The same report was cited by Phil Schiller, Apple’s head of worldwide marketing, in March, when he took to his Twitter account to advise users to “be safe out there.”
As of right now, nearly half of the malicious apps found on older versions of Android are “text message Trojans.” Hackers send text messages to premium-rate numbers, a method which results in charges to the user. Other threats highlighted by Homeland Security include rootkits, which log data such as locations, keystrokes and passwords, and fake Google Play domains, which trick users into installing malicious software that can steal sensitive information from the device.
In an effort to address these issues, the government recommends that agencies require Android-based phones have security suites installed that can combat malware threats. Users are also advised to install “Carrier IQ Test” to detect malicious software and to regularly update their Android antivirus software.
Although Android accounts for most mobile malware, the second largest platform for malicious software based on F-Secure’s data is Nokia’s outgoing Symbian platform, which is home to 19% of malware threats. Fortunately for Apple users, the iOS platform is a distant third with 0.7%, while Windows Mobile and BlackBerry are home to 0.3% of malware threats.
Security is one of the iOS platforms longest boasted features that Apple has had an advantage over devices running Google’s Android for quite some time. The Cupertino California company also touts that all iPhone users update to the latest, most secure version of iOS, while many Android users are not able to run newer versions of the platform because of manufacturer and carrier restrictions.
Does data like this make you iPhone users are bit more relieved?
, U.S. Homeland Security