The number of malicious Android apps has quadrupled so far in 2012, according to the antivirus/security company Trend Micro, and some of those apps are making their way into Google’s official app store, Google Play.
The company reports that it identified about 5,000 malicious Android apps in the first quarter of 2012 — a number which rose to 20,000 by the end of Q2. The number doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 in just one month.
Trend Micro also reports that it found 17 malicious apps in Google Play, Google’s official Android marketplace, and those apps were downloaded more than 700,000 times before Google removed them.
Android holds more than 50 percent of the mobile subscriber market right now, according to comScore numbers announced earlier this week. That, combined with the open ecosystem for Android apps — apps are generally not reviewed before they can appear on Google Play and other stores — makes Android a tempting target for hackers and scammers.
And, if the Trend Micro numbers continue in the direction they’re going, Android’s malware problem is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
On a related note, a Russian security company discovered today what’s believed to be the first case of malware found in Apple’s App Store. With the popularity of Apple devices, it’s certain that hackers will continue trying to get apps published in the App Store — but Apple controls that much more tightly than Android apps are controlled.
(tip via CNET)