Android Malware Is at an All Time High

Android users are twice more likely to encounter malware now than they were at the beginning of the year, according to a report from mobile security vendor Lookout.

This rate has been calculated by taking into account the rapid growth of Android malware from a number of 80 malicious apps six months ago to 400 in June.

One particular malware family known as DroidDream had over 80 variations alone, highlighting a practice of repackaging multiple legit apps with malicious code to attract as many victims as possible.

But malicious apps are not the only type of threats Android users face. According to Lookout, three in ten users are also likely to encounter web-based threats.

"Malware writers have become increasingly creative with the tactics they use to get users to download malware," the Lookout researchers note.

"In addition to uploading malicious apps to the Android Market or alternative markets, we have also started to see threats we’ve classified as 'Malvertising' and 'Update Attacks'," they explain.

The company's data shows that between half million and one million users were affected by Android malware during the first half of 2011.

"Monetary motivations seem to be the primary goal but the sheer amount of personal information stored in our smartphones also becomes a target for attackers to get creative," Lookout warns.

Security researchers from CA just recently found an Android trojan that records incoming and outgoing calls as AMR audio files and sends them to its creators, effectively turning the phone into a spy tool.

When crunching in the numbers, Lookout estimates that the likelihood of encountering Android malware can vary from 1% to over 4% depending on the country. Past research from other companies has shown that China and Russia are hotspots for mobile malware.

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