SOFTWARE DEVELOPER Google's mobile operating system Android has become a "lucrative target" for cyber attackers, security firm F-Secure has warned.
In its latest Mobile Threat Report released today, the Finnish security firm reported that the number of malware families targeting Android users has nearly quadrupled since 2011, as it found 37 new families in the first quarter of 2012 alone.
F-Secure said that the most common form of malware found on such devices are Trojans, accounting for a staggering 84 per cent of all security threats aimed at mobile devices.
"The most interesting malware trend over recent months has been the increase in Trojans that deliver on their promises. This makes it harder for victims to know they have been victimised as there is less for them to detect," said F-Secure analyst Sean Sullivan.
The security firm said that cyber criminals are downloading Trojans as well as Rootkit exploits in order to take control of mobile devices and then install further apps to make unauthorised calls, send premium-rate SMS messages and access pay-per-view videos without user intervention.
The report also established that some Trojans pop up in third-party market apps that, like Steveware.A, are fake. F-Secure cautioned that app store users should remain vigilant because sometimes these fake apps "manage to wriggle their way into the official Android marketplace."
F-Secure's report indicated that at least 3,063 malicious Android applications are active, a severe jump in number when compared to the 139 recorded in 2010.
This gives Android users greater concern as mobile malware increases, especially considering that 34 of the current malware families are designed to steal money from infected handsets. µ