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Trend Micro's latest security roundup report has identifed a fivefold increase in the number of high risk and dangerous Android apps, to 175,000 in September, as the bad guys respond to market trends.

Ron Clarkson, Trend Micro's vice president, mobility, told iTWire the dramatic increase was a direct result of the growing popularity of portable devices, at the expense of PCs.android malware

"The bad guys are businesses just like any other. They look at the market and what is growing and what is shrinking and they see that the Android user base is growing and the PC user base is shrinking."

He added that the surge in Android malware was in part due to the fact that iOS, thanks to Apple's tightly controlled ecosystem, is much less vulnerable, driving malware writers onto Android as PC users move to either iOS or Android.

"In the iOS world, unless you have jail broken your device the apps can come from only two places: the App Store - and there is only one worldwide - or the enterprise."

Clarkson, however, pointed out that the open nature of the Android ecosystem had created huge opportunities for creativity, but at the same time made it even more vulnerable.

"Google produces the operating system. Then they hand it over to the hardware provider, who changes it a bit, adding their own software, which introduces more vulnerability. Then the hand it over to the service provider who adds their software and creates even more vulnerabilities."

Compounding the problem is the fact that only 20 percent of Android users have any sort of antivirus software installed. And Clarkson does not see the situation changing to the point that, as with Windows, there will be widespread recognition of the need for antivirus software on Android devices, leading to almost universal installation.

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Stuart Corner

 

Tracking the telecoms industry since 1989, Stuart has been awarded Journalist Of The Year by the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (twice) and by the Service Providers Action Network. In 2010 he received the 'Kester' lifetime achievement award in the Consensus IT Writers Awards and was made a Lifetime Member of the Telecommunications Society of Australia. He was born in the UK, came to Australia in 1980 and has been here ever since.

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