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Android users face increasing malware threat

Antivirus outfit AVG has warned that Android users face an increasing risk from malware, as cyber-criminals turn their attentions to the market-leading mobile platform.

The alert comes in AVG's Community Powered Threat Report for the first quarter of 2011, published today.

The open-source nature of the OS puts users at particular risk, as well as the 'open garden' approach of its creator, Google, in allowing users to install software from outside the official Android Market - in stark contrast to rival Apple's iOS operating system, which requires users to download all apps to their iPhone or iPad devices via the company's iTunes Store.

AVG claims that over the last three months, its Mobilation for Android software helped to prevent users from downloading more than 10,000 infected Android apps each day.

The company says the first quarter also saw a notable increase in spam and phishing attacks aimed at smartphone users, and at the Android platform in particular. On average, the company blocked 100,000 malicious e-mail and text messages each day.

Naturally, software vendor AVG recommends that users protect themselves by employing suitable security measures - though due the relatively meagre processing power on offer from most mobile devices, it recommends a solution that protects devices via the cloud.

"The fact that the battlefield is extending to mobile, particularly Android, means that people need security that is fitted to the mobile environment," says Karel Obluk, Chief Scientist at AVG. "Users need cloud-based protection to offload the process from the mobile device to stay safe while not draining resources on the device."