SECURITY OUTFIT Trend Micro has predicted that the number of malware threats targeting the Android mobile operating system will pass the one million mark by the end of 2013.
The increase will represent a near tripling of the number of threats presently known to target Android.
Trend Micro reported that at the end of 2012 it had detected roughly 350,000 malware samples that threaten Google's mobile operating system.
The figure means that it has taken Android just three years to attract the same number of software threats that it took PCs 14 years to reach.
"2012 was a year of real evolution in traditional threat and evolution into new platforms and geographies," said Trend Micro VP of security research Rik Ferguson.
"The mobile threat has come of age, criminals are already moving their operations into former developing internet economies and have devoted a lot of effort to hardening their point and click attack toolkits to evade detection by security vendors.
"We must continue to track and anticipate these developments in the security industry."
The report also revealed that Android users are seemingly unconcerned about the threat facing them. Trend Micro reported that only one in five Android devices have a security service installed.
Ferguson warned that criminals likely will begin to use Android as a springboard to target other operating systems.
"Android is already the criminals mobile OS of choice as these reports demonstrate, it is not too much of a stretch to think of criminals looking for ways to exploit other connected devices in the future," said Ferguson.
"If there's a financial incentive, whether that is hacking what you can see to influence your behaviour by pushing criminal scams, selling your behavioural and consumption data or stealing your electricity supply, they will do it."
Trend Micro's comments follow the discovery of several new Android malware strains. µ