The amount of malicious and high-risk Google Android apps jumped by more than 40 percent during the past few months, according to a new report from Trend Micro.
The number of such apps hit 718,000 at the end of the second quarter compared to 509,000 in the first quarter. Overall, these apps have increased by more than 350,000 since beginning of the year. Like the previous quarter, nearly half of the mobile malware (44 percent) uncovered during the past three months were designed to subscribe unwitting users to costly services, according to Trend Micro. The next largest group belonged to data stealers (24 percent), with adware coming in third (17 percent).
“The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recorded the highest malicious Android app download volume, overtaking Myanmar, which placed first in the previous quarter,” according to the report. “Six new countries figured in this month’s top 10, which may indicate an increase in mobile device use and/or attacks against such devices in these locations.”
Myanmar and Vietnam were second and third. The United States did not make the top 10.
“Similar to last quarter, mobile users in Saudi Arabia downloaded the most number of high-risk apps,” the report noted. “Vietnam placed second in light of the increasing mobile device use in the country.”
“Until we have the same urgency to protect mobile devices as we have for protecting PCs, this very real threat will continue to grow rapidly,” JD Sherry, vice president of technology and solutions at Trend Micro, in a statement. “At the rate this malware is accelerating – almost exponentially – we appear to be reaching a critical mass. To fight this, Android users need to take great care when using their devices and take the simple, but effective, step of adding security software to all mobile devices.”
The amount of banking malware also increased significantly, with the U.S. being the top target of the malware. According to Trend Micro, the U.S. accounted for 28 percent of global compromises.
“As predicted, cybercriminals carried out developments in malware distribution and refinement for existing tools,” the report notes. “New ZeuS/ZBOT deployment tactics include a propagation routine. The PIZZER worm was also found spreading and copying itself onto password-protected archived files, using a technique similar to that of PROLACO malware.”
A full copy of the report is available here.