Security firm SophosLabs claims Android phones are particularly vulnerable to malware attacks, after examining statistics from installations of its own security app on the Google-owned platform.
The study, surveying devices in 118 countries, uncovered five leading types of malware that pose the greatest threat to Android phones, including one that signs you up for a premium rate service but reads your SMS messages to remove warnings that you are being charged.
The Andr/BBridge - A virus as it is known, is joined by the malicious ‘Battery Doctor' app that falsely claims to save battery life and sends personal information to a server using HTTP; variations of the Android Plankton virus that attacks with aggressive adware; the Dr Sheep-A that hacks social network accounts; and most prominently, the Andr/PJApps-C malware - typically paid for apps that have already been hacked. These account for over 63 per cent of the malware detected on Android by Sophos, eclipsing its nearest rival by over 50 per cent.
Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at Sophos, said "the volume of malware that we've discovered highlights that mobile security is a real and growing problem, especially on Android.
"Criminals are creating more and more targeted malware for different platforms, and smartphone users need to wise up to the fact that security is no longer limited to PCs, but mobiles and tablets are also at risk if not sufficiently protected."
Smartphone owners have been warned that most infections come from ‘side-load' apps - paid programs from non-official sources, which are offered for free by pirates who have already loaded them with mobile Trojans.