Majority of mobile malware on Android phones, security firm says

Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg - A model of the Android operating system logo stands on display at the company's booth at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Monday, Feb. 27, 2012.

Nearly 80 percent of all mobile malware found in 2012 was written for phones running Google’s mobile Android operating system, according to a report from security firm F-Secure.

Android is the world’s most popular smartphone platform — with nearly 70 percent of the market, according to numbers posted in January by Strategy Analytics.

More tech stories

5 things to know about today’s Google Glass sale

5 things to know about today’s Google Glass sale

Google is briefly opening the doors to its Google Glass explorers program to any U.S. adult with a shipping address.

The cost of being a great innovator

The cost of being a great innovator

You’ll build an amazing r sum , but will you have to sacrifice other parts of your life?

Why we need zero-energy companies

Why we need zero-energy companies

U.S. corporations should reach this goal by 2050, before the worst effects of climate change arrive.

But it appears to be even more popular with those writing malicious programs, with 79 percent of all mobile malware in 2012 targeting Android phones. In the fourth quarter of 2012 alone, 96 percent of all mobile malware was written for the platform.

F-Secure said that the jump in Android malware can be “largely attributed to the operating system’s increasing foothold” in the smartphone market.

Mobile malware attacks are on the rise overall, the report said, with over 300 families and variants of malicious programs identified. This year’s report was also the first time that threats to Apple’s iOS software appeared on the report, with 0.7 percent. The year 2012 also marked the first year that BlackBerry threats appeared on the radar, though also with a very low 0.3 percent.

Malicious apps, monitoring programs and programs that collect extra data without disclosing it all appeared on phones in 2012, often by posing as legitimate applications. In some cases, the report said, malware also duplicates the authentication numbers mobile phones use to validate online banking transactions, which means that banks have a difficult time recognizing fraudulent transactions.

Nokia’s Symbian platform was the second-most targeted, making up 19 percent of threats logged by the firm last year, though threats have been dropping off as fewer consumers use the platform.

Read what others are saying