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Security firm Trend Micro is predicting an Android apocalypse. The company has noticed an exponential rise in the amount of malware targeting Google’s mobile operating system. If current trends continue, Trend Micro expects to find 138,000 malware samples in the fourth quarter of 2012 – up dramatically from 5,000 at the start of 2012.

Sound alarmist? Perhaps, but it’s not the first time we’ve heard  a security firm sound the warning about the rising tide of Android malware. Kaspersky noticed in November of 2011 that the number of threats targeting Android had increased 472% Android Malware Has Increased 472 Percent Since July [News] Android Malware Has Increased 472 Percent Since July [News] Malware threats against phones were once few and far between, but anyone being honest with themselves knew that it was just a matter of time before hackers went after them in force. Now, Android is... Read More from July of the same year.

Despite what Google may say, unauthorized apps are not the only problem. Trend Micro states they know of 17 malware apps that were posted on Google Play and downloaded a total of 700,000 times before removed.

Sticking to apps that seem popular may not help you, either – 30% of malware found on Android is designed to trick users into thinking it is popular app. The company also stated that the risk of infection through Google’s official app store is higher than the risk of infection through the Apple App Store.

What can you do to protect yourself? Trend Micro’s only specific recommendation is to avoid downloading apps that are not on the official market and be wary of apps on Google Play. Trend Micro surely wouldn’t mind if you bought their anti-malware app, either – though competitors such as Kaspersky or Lookout The 3 Best Antivirus Apps To Protect Your Android Security The 3 Best Antivirus Apps To Protect Your Android Security As we’ve reported frequently at MakeUseOf, Android is no longer safe from malware. The number of threats is on the rise. This shouldn’t be surprise to anyone. Smartphones and tablets can carry all sorts of... Read More are also highly recommended.

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Source: Trend Micro

  1. Ibrahim Ali
    July 8, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    The Android OS getting some virus/malware now isn't really bad news. That means smart phones are just as vulnerable as regular pc's and will galvanize google and the super smug Apple into maybe some serious action. The question I have is not if it's Apple or Android that's more vulnerable ( - both are now targets): rather that if we will ever see a computer (at all) in the future that can ever be 100% free from attack.

    • Matt Smith
      July 9, 2012 at 1:31 am

      I don't think it's possible for a computer to ever be free from attack. They're too complex.

  2. 7987627e5cfdd26789fd0cac537539e7
    July 8, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    I think some sort of security is a "must have" on any platform, though obviously, some platforms need it more than others.

  3. HuitZiloP
    July 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Nice try, Apple.

    • Donna
      July 8, 2012 at 2:22 am

      That was completely uncalled for and childish. News Flash! It's possible to use Microsoft, Apple and Android and not fight or be rude.
      It happened on IOS too so everyone was careful I hope.

    • Donna
      July 8, 2012 at 2:23 am

      Childish it happened on IOS also.
      It's possible to use MS, Apple and Android and not fight. Try it!

  4. Trevor
    July 6, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Run AV software, many people I know don't think they need it on their android because "It's not a computer". I prefer Avast.

  5. Ben
    July 6, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I thought Google Play would have checks in place to repulse malware!

    • Matt Smith
      July 6, 2012 at 10:23 pm

      You'd think. But AFAIK they don't. They do pull apps at any sign of trouble, but I don't believe Google is making much effort to check code before it is posted on Google Play.

      Could be wrong if they've recently updated their policy, but I haven't heard anything about it if they have.

  6. PV
    July 6, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    In reference to your statement "avoid downloading apps that are not on the official market and be wary of apps on Google Play"--As an HTC EVO 4G user, I was automatically, and without my input, switched from the app marketplace that came on my phone to Google Play. Are you saying Google Play is not the official market? If not, from where should I be downloading apps?

    • Matt Smith
      July 6, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Google Play is the official market. My statement is simply meant to say that you should not assume an app on Google Play isn't infected because it's on the official market.

      • PV
        July 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm

        OK. Thank you.

  7. Dany Bouffard
    July 6, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I think its a normal trend, as OS become more popular, more Malwares appears. Thats the reason that Windows get more viruses than mac and since Android is rapidly growing its normal that it will have more malwares threats. Just try to be aware of unnormal behavior on your android system and if you suspect something stop the app from running and remove it.

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