China and Russia targeted due to its "less secure" third party app markets.
During the third quarter of 2012, Android’s malware issues escalated considerably, according to a mobile threat report from security firm F-Secure.
The company detected “a whopping 51,447 unique samples” during the quarter, representing an increase from 5,033 in the previous quarter and 3,063 in Q1.
F-Secure said the malware surge may be “a natural consequence of continued high growth”. It believes Android’s continued growth -- especially in countries such as China and Russia who have “less secure” third party app markets -- is a more likely explanation for the malware surge, as opposed to malware developers surpassing Google’s Play Store scanning system.
"The surge may better be attributed as a natural consequence of the continued high growth in Android smartphone adoption this quarter, particularly in regions such as China and Russia. In fact, in Q2, China officially surpassed the United States as the largest market for smartphones, with Android handsets accounting 81% of that market," it said.
The security firm added that the majority of the new Android malware found in Q3 are designed to “generate profit from SMS sending activities or by harvesting information found on the infected device."
Google's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean update, which will become available through the Nexus 4 and Nexus 10 on November 13, will deliver an improved malware scanner that has integrated additional security measures.
Elsewhere, Android 2.3.6 Gingerbread accounts for the most blocked malware attempts with 28 percent. "...in 48% of all cases victims of cybercriminals used Gingerbread, which was installed on 55% of all devices, while in 43% of all cases the victims had Ice Cream Sandwich, the latest version of Android OS, which is installed on 23.7% of all devices," said Securelist.