In the Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011 published by Juniper's Global Threat Center, researchers found that malware specifically designed to target smartphones and other mobile devices has skyrocketed in the last year. While cyber criminals used to target PCs almost exclusively, the rise of connected mobile devices have made them a tempting target as well.
According to the report, mobile malware grew 250 percent between 2009 and 2010. While no mobile operating system is immune to cyber attacks, the openness of Google's Android makes it a particularly attractive target. The study found that malware attacks against Android-based devices increased a shocking 400 percent since last summer.
Android's vulnerability came to a head earlier this year when it was revealed that more than 50 apps on Google's Android Market contained some form of malware. While Google was prompt in removing the malicious apps, the incident only served to increase users' doubts about the operating system's security.
However, despite these security concerns, Android is quickly becoming the world's fastest-growing mobile operating system. According to recent figures from research firm Gartner, Android will account for nearly half of the global smartphone OS market by 2013.
Juniper does offer a number of recommendations for both consumers and enterprises to protect against mobile malware. Regardless of the OS, it is recommended that users equip their smartphones with security measures, including anti-malware and antivirus software. Additionally, the report stated that enterprise data security managers would be wise to enforce security policies that involve mandatory PINs or passcodes, device activity monitoring and remote wiping and locking.