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Feds: Overwhelming majority of mobile malware on Android

updated 01:20 am EDT, Tue August 27, 2013

Apple's iOS seen to have 0.7 percent of threats targeting it

A memo written by the US Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security last year found that around 79 percent of mobile malware is designed to attack vulnerabilities in Android, with another 19 percent exploiting flaws in the discontinued but still widespread Symbian. Apple's iOS was seen to be threatened by 0.7 percent, while system such as Windows Mobile and BlackBerry drew only 0.3 percent of threats.

The memo was originally intended for first-responders such as police, fire and other emergency personnel, and includes tips for Android users on how to avoid the two most common malware issues: bogus SMS messages, and malware masquerading as legitimate apps. The memo was published by Public Intelligence.

While the report is more than eight months old, it closely matches results from independent studies done at the same time. Since then, the malware threat on Android has grown substantially -- to the point where the most recent data available has it accounting for 92 percent of new mobile malware threats. Second-place Symbian, used mostly in feature phones, has steadily declined usage and with it the level of threat, while even the mildest malware is all but unknown on the other three smartphone platforms, most notably iOS (where virtually the only real threat is from "trickware" subscription SMS messages).

by MacNN Staff



  1. kerryb

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 08-05-01

    Android is really becoming Window of the 90's.

  1. rayray14

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-11-08

    I'm surprised iOS is even at 0.7%.

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    Android phones..... what a wreck. Better jack up the CPU speed and RAM capacity so that Norton Utility can run full blown on the background.

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    kerryb: exactly!

  1. msuper69

    Professional Poster

    Joined: 01-16-00

    coffeetime: So much for free. Nothing is free. The malware is part of the price of using Android.

  1. macman72

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-16-10


    Just for fun and the hell of it, should we entertain ourselves to see if a congratulations to Ballmer for having the least percentage of mobile malware will make him more at ease about retiring? LOL. An AppleInsider article regarding the same issue says that Android users are advised to both install a Anti-Virus Security Suite like Lookout AND a "Carrier IQ Test". WTF?!! Clearly, what a waste of money for any government employee and any citizen or resident to see their money get flushed down the toilet at a great risk!

  1. iphonerulez

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 11-28-08

    What's everyone complaining about? Google gives Android away for free and boasts about how open it is. No one should be complaining about a free product and being open to malware is actually a perk. Android apologists seem to hate the idea of a "walled garden". They prefer the malware. Everyone from Wall Street to the Chinese white box device makers are so happy they have Android to put on all their devices and it doesn't cost them a penny to take care of. Almost everyone in the world thinks that Android OS is a blessing in disguise sent from Sky Daddy to the poorest people on the planet.

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