Each quarter, we go back to our annual predictions and take a look to see if our projections have been on the mark…. or not. For this quarter, we’ve focused on our 2012 prediction that there would be 125,000 pieces of malware affecting the Android mobile platform by the end of the year.
At the time, it was a controversial prediction: some said that it was overly hyped. But our researchers have finished crunching the numbers for third quarter of 2012 and found that if our prediction was wrong, it’s because it was too conservative. At the end of September, with another full quarter left in 2012, Trend Micro researchers counted more than 175,000 malicious and high risk apps on the Android platform.
This number includes both malicious apps (like fake Bad Piggies, Angry Birds, and Instagram apps) and Aggressive Mobile Adware (adware that aggressively displays ads on devices or gathers information without your knowledge or consent). In fact, the explosive growth in numbers we’re seeing is driven most by aggressive mobile adware, particularly variants that used legitimate ad networks to push malicious ads.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the mobile space is the next great frontier for malicious activity. And the cybercriminals are clearly favoring Android as their preferred target in this space. After the findings in this quarter’s report, it’s also clear that mobile devices need active protection just like PCs do.
You can get more details on the Android malware trends in the report itself, including the Top 10 Android Malware, Top 10 Most Aggressive Android Adware, and the Top 10 Malicious and High-Risk Android App Types.
Also, be sure to check out CTO Raimund Genes’ thoughts on what this means for Android over at his video blog.