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Between Q1 2011 and Q2 2012 ABI Research found that unique malware variants grew by 2,180 percent reaching 17,439.
And these threats are set to increase significantly.
"With the increasing popularity of smartphones, mobile threats are on the rise. This has implications for security at the corporate level as well as for individual privacy," says Michela Menting, senior cyber security analyst.
Games, social networking, productivity apps, financial tools are flocking to the mobile platform, and along with it, malware, says ABI, which estimates that the global market for mobile application security will be worth $398 million by the end of 2012.
This includes revenues for paid apps, partnerships with manufacturers and operators, white label deals, and dataset sales.
To date, ABI calculates that there have been over 130 billion downloads of mobile security apps.
"The mobile application security market is rife with vendors offering their wares. The priority now for end-users is understanding the issue at hand and finding the right offering that best suits their needs," said Menting.
A number of companies are standing out among the hoards of mobile security vendors, says ABI.
Among them, AVG Technologies, Lookout, and Avast Software offer software that address malware, privacy and anti-theft concerns.
With regards to innovation Lookout, Dr.Web, and TrustGo stand-out among other vendors, says ABI.
As for implementation, McAfee, Kaspersky Lab, and Ikarus have excelled in deploying viable long-term strategies.