THE ANDROID OPERATING SYSTEM (OS) has over 10 million malicious apps, security firm Kaspersky has warned in its latest report.
In the Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2013, researchers said that by late January 2014 they had found 200,000 unique samples of mobile malware at the Google Play store and other sources, which get re-used and re-packaged to look like different apps.
"On January 30, 2014, the official Google Play market offered 1,103,104 applications. Kaspersky Lab has now logged 10 million dubious apps, as cybercriminals use also legitimate Android software to carry their malicious code," Kaspersky said in its report.
The firm said that the number of samples was up 34 percent from November 2013. Two months previously the firm recorded over 148,000 samples.
"To date we have collected 8,260,509 unique malware installation packs," the firm claimed.
The total number of mobile malware samples in Kaspersky's collection is 148,778, with 104,421 found in 2013 alone.
"If 2011 was the year when mobile malware gained traction, especially in Android-land, and 2012 was the year of mobile malware diversification, then 2013 saw mobile malware come of age," Kaspersky's report said.
The most prominent item among the mobile malware of 2013 was Obad, which is being distributed by multiple methods, including a pre-established botnet.
Android smartphones infected with Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.Opfake.a are used as multipliers, sending text messages containing malicious links to every contact on the victim's device.
"This has been common practice in the PC threat landscape and is a popular service provided by bot-herders in [the] underground cybercriminal economy," Kaspersky said.
Kaspersky found that in most cases, malware targets the user's financial information, with most of the malicious Android applications having been developed in Russia.
"This was the case, for example, with the mobile version of Carberp Trojan that originated in Russia. It steals user credentials as they are sent to a bank server."
Last summer Kaspersky signed an agreement with chip designer Qualcomm to improve security at "the lower level" of a smartphone's mobile operating system (OS).
The security firm agreed to offer "special terms" for preloading Kaspersky Mobile Security and Kaspersky Tablet Security products on Android devices powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. µ