Just as Android mobile usage is on the rise, so is malware targeting Android users.  According to a recent report from Kaspersky, malware on smartphones was up 780 percent last year, over the year prior.  Of all of the mobile malware that was identified, 99 percent specifically targeted Android devices.  Android devices appear to be at a particular disadvantage when compared to Apple devices, due in large part to Apple’s “closed” iTunes store.  Due to the fact that Apple vets any of the iPhone apps sold in the iTunes store, users can avoid many of the malicious programs.  In fact, the largest category of mobile malware comes in the form of fake apps and links.

The Fight Against Android Malware

Part of what is fueling this huge increase in malware that targets Android users is a growing market for mobile malcode creation kits.  Additionally, it has been reported that there is also an increase in the sale and use of fraudulent developer accounts at Google Play.  In order to sell apps through Google Play, developers must pay a small fee, and are required to have their accounts verified and tied to a specific domain. Android malware developers can purchase these already verified developer accounts on the black market,  which then provides the malware developer with the ability to sell their applications through the Google Play marketplace.  This is how malicious mobile malware can be disguised as a legitimate apps for sale.

It is possible to fight against Android malware. Common sense dictates that it is best not to just install any random app on your phone.  It is important to take the time to consider the reputation of an app before you install it, so that you can be sure that you are making a wise choice. In order to protect your Android device, only download apps that have been scanned through Bouncer.  Bouncer is Google’s internal malware scanner.  This extra step can save Android users from falling prey to malicious malware.

[Images via techotv & techcrunch]