A report released on Monday by McAfee states that the amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped nearly 37-percent since last quarter. Even more, nearly all new mobile malware in Q3 was targeted at Google's mobile OS. So far 2011 is on track to be the busiest in mobile and general malware history.
"This has been a very steady quarter in terms of threats, as both general and mobile malware are more prevalent than ever," said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs. "So far this year, we’ve seen many interesting yet challenging trends that are affecting the threat landscape, including heightened levels of sophistication and high-profile hacktivist attacks."
McAfee's report states that one of the most popular forms of trickery in Q3 was SMS-sending Trojans that collected personal information and stole money. Another new method of stealing user information was malware that recorded phone conversations and forwarded them to the attacker. All in all, malware authors are taking full advantage of Android's popularity and wide market share.
Unfortunately, one factor that may be accelerating the malware problem on Android is the lack of protection served up by anti-malware apps despite their claims.
As reported last week, not all free solutions listed on the Android Market actually protect consumer devices. Out of seven that were recently tested by AV-TEST, Zoner AntiVirus Free gave the best performance, detecting 8 out of 10 malware upon installation, and 55 out of 172 during a manual scan. Antivirus Free by Creative Apps, GuardX Antivirus and LabMSF Antivirus beta failed to detect malware upon installation. BluePoint AntiVirus Free, Kinetoo Malware Scan and Privateer Lite still warned against one malicious app.
As for the non-Android platforms like Windows 7 and Mac OS X, fake Anti-Virus (AV), AutoRun and password-stealing Trojans have bounced back strongly from previous quarters, while AutoRun and passwords stealers remain at relatively constant levels.
"Mac malware also continues to grow, following a sharp increase in Q2," McAfee said on Monday. "Although the increase in Q3 was not as significant, McAfee Labs warns that as certain platforms grow in popularity for both consumer and business use, such as the Mac operating system, malware authors will increasingly use theses platforms to target victims."
To read McAfee's new report, McAfee Threats Report: Third Quarter 2011, grab the PDF file right here.