If you have a smartphone, there's a good chance it uses the Android operating system. Android is the leading mobile OS globally, and growing even more popular. Strategy Analytics reported in August that Android captured a record market share of 80 percent of all new smartphones shipped in the second quarter of 2013.
Android also holds the distinction of the being the most frequent target of mobile malware and Trojans. More than 90 percent of mobile malware targets the Android platform, which Armor for Android projects could exceed more than 600,000 new malware threats in 2013. This continues a skyrocketing trend for Android malware, which grew by 600 percent the last two years. The number of Android malware samples collected in 2013 already has exceeded the total for all of 2012.
Trojans compromised 82 percent of all Android malware and represented nine of the 10 most common Android threats. Many of the most common Android Trojans are designed to commit premium service fraud and incur additional unwanted charges to users’ mobile phone bills. Two of these Android Trojans are designed to give the malware authors remote control of the infected device -- a frightening possibility for anyone who stores personal information on their device (which is almost everybody).
Android malware has a higher concentration on older versions of Android OS, which is why downloading the newest version is a simple but effective way of "keeping a clean machine." In fact, enabling automatic updates would be a wise step to take, if you can. Newer versions likely have enhanced security to thwart known malware threats. Armor for Android recommends that Android users be diligent about updating their Android OS. Using the most recent Android OS will help reduce your risk of exposure to Android malware.
James Green is a security researcher for Android antivirus company Armor for Android. James has worked in the Android security field for several years and provides privacy and security advice to Android users.