Early this morning, Apple senior executive Phil Schiller took to Twitter to release a report on mobile threats for Q4 2012. The report comes from F-Secure, a computer security company based in Helsinki.
The report “Mobile Threat Report Q4 2012”, says the Android operating system was the leading source of malware threats with 79% of all mobile threats from the past year. The Symbian operating system formerly used in Nokia mobile devices, trailed far behind with 19%, with Apple’s iOS barely a blip on the radar with just .7% of all mobile malware. The percentage marked a significant surge in malware threats for the Android operating system, up from 66.7% in 2011 and 11.25% in 2010.
Part of Android’s large share of mobile malware can be attributed to having more than 50% market share of the smartphone platform. However in the 2012 Q4 alone, Android had an astounding 96% of all threats reported by F-Secure. This figures followed the previous quarters of 47, 46 and 49%, respectively. According to a CNN story released today, Android attracted 112 times more malware than Apple’s iOS, putting the mobile threat percentage in a different perspective.
Android users should take notice that the F-Secure report said “quite a number of Android malware employ an operation similar to PremiumSMS. It is a popular method for making direct monetary profit.” Other forms of malware include stealing the “mobile Transaction Authentication Number” that banks send to customers via SMS for verify an online bank transaction. The report cites “Eurograbber” as malware that impersonates victims and carries out banking transactions and notes that in addition to Android, the Symbian and BlackBerry operating systems have also been affected.