254,158 Android apps are malicious as mobile malware skyrockets

A staggering 267,259 mobile apps are triggering SMS trojans, exploiting security holes, stealing private data, and building botnets, according to a study released today by network security firm Juniper.
Ninety-two percent of them are Android-based, and most of those are due to over 500 Android app stores globally that are known to be hosting mobile malware.

“We anticipate that similar to the evolution of PC-based threats, mobile attacks will continue to increase and become more sophisticated in the coming years,” Juniper mobile threat center director Troy Vennon said in a statement.

Juniper’s Mobile Threats Report analyzed 1.85 million mobile apps, up a third from February 2012, to find malware and vulnerabilities. According to the report overall mobile malware is skyrocketing — up 614 percent in a single year across all platforms — but Juniper says that Android is where the real challenges lie.

Android is the target of choice of thousands of malware authors simply due to the hundreds of non-Google app stores that offer almost no oversight and therefore enable easy distribution, and due to the continuing fragmentation of the Android ecosystem, which leaves users of earlier, less-secure versions of Android vulnerable. A third contributing factor is the fact that more apps asking for more private data.

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