Google’s Android is essentially open and that offers a lot of choice in form factor, carrier, handset maker and it even led to things like the Kindle Fire but that openness also comes with a downside, as McAfee’s latest mobile security report says that nearly all the new instances of mobile malware it saw in the third quarter were aimed at Android.
It really does make some sort of sense, as Android continues to dominate the new smartphone sales and its more-open nature makes it a bit more vulnerable to malware than iOS or Windows Phone – although no platform is ever going to be fully secure. McAfee said that many of the new mobile malware included SMS-sending Trojans, fake anti-virus programs, malware that secretly records users’ phone calls and more. Overall, the company said that Android malware jumped up 37 percent from the last quarter and 2011 will be the “busiest” year for mobile malware we’ve ever seen.
Expect this trend to continue, as more and more people are carrying smartphones around and these have all sorts of personal information. Just think about how bad it could be if the information on your phone got into the wrong hands. I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as it has been on the desktop side of things due to inherent security structures within the mobile operating systems but there are steps you can do to better protect yourself. Companies like Lookout offer mobile anti-virus software and this isn’t like the old-school ones that slow down your system.
Most importantly, just use your better judgement on what apps you download or what links you click on your smartphone. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.