Hackers' Favorite New Target: Android

Malicious apps surged more than 3,000% last year
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 17, 2012 2:30 AM CST
The amount of malware targeting mobile systems like Android has accelerated in recent years, experts warn.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(Newser) – Cyber criminals have spent years figuring out how mobile systems like Android work, and now they're cashing in, security experts warn. Android, now the most popular smartphone operating system, has seen malware surge along with its popularity. Malware targeting the Google-created system grew a massive 3,325% in the last seven months of 2011, according to Juniper Networks' annual Mobile Threat Report.

Experts recommend researching app publishers and reading online reviews to avoid downloading malware that can play tricks like stealing your bank details or secretly sending out SMS messages that add to your phone bill. "There’s such a low barrier to entry. A kid in a basement can write a malicious app. Some of the hackers are organized criminals, but some are just people doing a one-off to make a little extra cash," Juniper's mobile security chief tells the Daily Beast. He says that despite the surge in Android malware, Apple probably isn't any safer, but Apple is so secretive that it's hard to find out how much malware is being created for its system. (Read more malware stories.)

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