Phil Schiller sends out tweet warning of Android malware

Apple executive Phil Schiller today sent out a rare tweet that simply said "Be safe out there:" accompanied by a link to a recent F-Secure study that singles out Google's Android platform as being particularly prone to malware.

Apple executive Phil Schiller today sent out a rare tweet that simply said "Be safe out there:" accompanied with a link to a recent study from F-Secure which singles out Google's Android platform as being particularly prone to malware.

The summary of the report reads in part:

Android malware has been strengthening its position in the mobile threat scene. Every quarter, malware authors bring forth new threat families and variants to lure more victims and to update on the existing ones. In the fourth quarter alone, 96 new families and variants of Android threats were discovered, which almost doubles the number recorded in the previous quarter. A large portion of this number was contributed by PremiumSMS—a family of malware that generates profit through shady SMS-sending practices—which unleashed 21 new variants.

The report notes that Android users should also be on the look out for banking malware, which has become more prevalent over the past 12 months. Not surprisingly, the security firm notes that the rise in Android-based malware is the result of Android's growing marketshare in the smartphone market. Consequently, Android's share of the malware market in 2012 rose from 66.7% in 2011 to 79% in 2012.

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And lest you think there isn't big money involved, think again. The report points out that one piece of malware in particular - named Eurograbber - swindled over $47 million from over 30,000 retail and corporate accounts in Europe. That particular trojan operated by first installing itself onto a victim's computer and then tricking said victim into installing it onto their mobile device.

By positioning itself on both the victims’ computers and devices, Eurograbber can impersonate the victims and carry out transactions without raising suspicions from either the victim or the banking institution. The trojan had been found to infect not only devices running on Android, but also Symbian and BlackBerry operating systems.

The report notes that malware specifically targeting Apple's iOS platform accounted for only 0.7 of reported threats. Further, malware targeting iOS tends to be multi-platform malware that targets other platforms as well.

Below are some charts F-Secure included in their report.

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