According to a recently released report, attackers continue to target Android more than any other mobile operating system. Google’s platform has apparently played host to all but one of the new mobile malware families discovered last year. Microsoft’s Windows Phone was the subject of the lone non-Android malware discovery, while Apple’s iOS escaped the year relatively unscathed. The data was revealed by Symantec as part of the company’s annual internet security threat report.
The various app stores, both official and third-party, available to Android users continue to represent the platform’s biggest weakness. In one scenario, a Remote Administration Tool, or RAT, appeared last summer in a number of apps in the Google Play store. To highlight the app stores’ vulnerability, Symantec called out the following:
The release of an instant messaging application by a well-known smartphone vendor on the Android platform. 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.
The report mentions the following regarding the matter:
The attraction of the mobile environment to attackers is clearly based on the size and growth rate of the user base today. Yet it's also based on the amount of personal information that's easily attainable once an attacker is on the device. With the right permissions the device's phone number, GPS coordinates, camera, and other information become readily available.