If you’re living in Europe or North America and if you’re an Android user, the mobile malware that targets you is most likely designed to steal your money. On the other hand, if you live in Asia, you’re more likely to be bombarded with aggressive adware and annoying ads.
These are the results of a study performed by security firm Bitdefender with the aid of its mobile security solution, between January 1 and December 1, 2012.
The countries where it’s most likely to be infected with money-stealing Android malware are the United States (16%), France (15%), Romania (15%), the United Kingdom (10%) and Germany (9%).
In Asia, the situation is a bit different, aggressive adware being the most problematic. While these types of elements cannot be considered malware, they’re mainly problematic because they disrupt user experience.
Instead of stealing money, adware and aggressive adware change browser search engines, display numerous advertisements, and place shortcuts on the device’s desktop.
These threats also eat up a lot of resources, in some case making the device completely unresponsive.
Adware libraries are often used by developers who offer their apps for free to help them generate legitimate revenue via pay-per-click ads. However, if they’re too aggressive, the ads tend to affect user experience by consuming too many computational resources and by draining the battery faster.
Compared to the first half of 2012, malware and adware reports recorded an increase of 292% in the second part of the year. The most prevalent money-stealing Trojans are Android.Trojan.SMSSend and Android.Trojan.FakeInst, accounting for 67% of all reported global malware.
“European and North American Android users need to be weary of Android Trojans that reach for their pockets. During 2013 we expect to see a rampant increase of malware, directly proportional with the number of users that acquire Android devices,” said Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist, Catalin Cosoi.