Android’s reputation as a nest for malware isn’t likely to heal anytime soon, thanks to a new report from Symantec.
According to the security company’s research, Android is still the main target when it comes to mobile malware writers, but iOS is technically a more vulnerable platform. Symantec identified 108 new unique threats to all mobile platforms in 2012, out of those there were 103 that target Android, and only one that targets iOS. Symbian accounted for three of the unique threats, and the Windows Mobile also had one.
When it comes to vulnerabilities though it’s a completely different story. Symantec identified 387 vulnerabilities in iOS but only 13 were found for Android. Blackberry also had 13 and Windows Mobile only had 2 vulnerabilities.
“Today, mobile vulnerabilities have little or no correlation to mobile malware. In fact, while Apple’s iOS had the most documented vulnerabilities in 2012, there was only one threat created for the platform. Compare this to the Android OS; although only thirteen vulnerabilities were reported, it led all mobile operating systems in the amount of malware written for the platform. Vulnerabilities likely will become a factor in mobile malware, but today Android’s market share, the openness of the platform, and the multiple distribution methods available to applications embedded with malware make it the go-to platform of malware authors”.
One of the main problems feeding the number of available Android exploits are the modifications that are made to the OS itself. Manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and HTC all created modified versions of Android to install on their phones, which then opens up new exploits.