Nexus 4

99% of mobile malware targeted at Android

Networking equipment manufacturer Cisco has released its annual security report, revealing that Android had considerable more security issues during 2013 than any of its rivals. This was true for both malware and web-based attacks on mobile devices.

Over the course of 2013, 99% of mobile malware targeted Android. Google’s operating system was also subject to the most web-based mobile attacks, accounting for 71% of exploits.

The headline figures are undeniably alarming, particularly the percentage of malware attacks affecting Android. Such high numbers are not especially surprising, however, particularly when Android’s effective dominance of the mobile market is taken into account.

According to the latest figures from analysts Gartner, Android recorded an 81.9% share of the smartphone market during the third quarter of 2013. As there are substantially more Android devices being sold than products running other platforms, the OS therefore offers a larger user base for hackers to target.

Another factor that could in part account for the large percentage of Android malware is the way apps are distributed. Google Play has less screening in place than Apple’s App Store, and apps can also be downloaded from third party app stores, or even directly as .apk files.