Infected Android phones now outnumber infected PCs on mobile networks


ITWire reports that Android devices have overtaken Windows PCs as the most common platform for malware on mobile networks.

The data is sourced from network monitoring by Alcatel-Lucent’s Kindsight Security Labs for the first half of 2014, and found mobile malware infections increased 17% during the first six months of 2014, growing at nearly double the rate seen in 2013.

0.65% of mobile devices were infected during the first half of 2014, compared to 0.55% at the end of 2013, amounting to about 15 million mobile devices around the world are infected with malware, up from 11.3 million at the end of 2013.

Android devices accounted for 60% of total mobile network infections, and 40% of mobile malware originated from Windows laptops connected to a phone or connected directly through a mobile USB stick or W-Fi hub.

Infections on Windows Phone, iPhone and BlackBerry devices made up less than 1%

“Android smartphones are the easiest malware target,” said Kevin McNamee, security architect and director of Alcatel-Lucent’s Kindsight Security Labs, but noted “but Windows laptops are still the favourite of hard core professional cybercriminals.”

Infections frequently took the form of ‘trojanised’ applications that contain hidden malware that when downloaded by Android owners from third party app stores, Google Play Store or by phishing scams can steal personal information on phones or send SMS messages and browse the web.

High level malware threats comprised 85% of the threats found on the Top 20 Android List, where four instances are mobile spyware used by an attacker to remotely track and monitor a device owner’s location, communications and browser history.

“Device owners (are) at increased risk of being spied on, having personal information stolen, or experiencing ‘bill shock’ as result of pirated data usage.”

The full report is available here.