DHS and FBI Say Android Mobile Primary Target for Malware Attacks

Android may have been birthed as an operating system for digital cameras, but after being acquired by Google, it's since grown to become the most popular mobile OS in the world. Cyber criminals have taken notice, and according to a study by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Android is the top target for malware attacks.

Cyber criminals are drawn to Android's market share and open source architecture, as well as the fact that a large percentage of users -- 44 percent -- are still running Gingerbread (Android 2.3.3 through 2.3.7), a much older version of Android compared to Jelly Bean.

Android Garden
Image Source: Flickr (Dan H)

The report is labeled as unclassified and for official use only with a note indicating it's intended for police, fire, EMS, and security personnel. It was put together last month but only recently posted by Public Intelligence. According to the report, Android is the target of 79 percent of all mobile malware, followed by Symbian at 19 percent. The rest -- iOS, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, and all remaining platforms -- each are targets of less than 1 percent of mobile malware.

Text messaging Trojans represent almost half of the malicious apps circulating today on older Android builds. Rootkits are also a problem, as are fake Google Play domains that serve up infected applications.