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99% of new mobile malware threats hit Android as UK suffers from highest global malware levels

Great Britain has the highest level of mobile malware of any country across the world with new figures showing that Android users remain the most targeted of any smartphone owners.

Article: 97% of mobile malware afflicts Android, but most of it outside Google Play

The numbers, which are part of F-Secure’s Mobile Threat Report for Q1 2014, showed that 99 per cent of the 277 new mobile threats discovered were carried out against Android users. That translates to 275 of the new threats being against Android smartphones with just one threat each targeting iOS and Symbian.

“These developments give us signs as to the direction of malware authors,” says Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer at F-Secure. “We’ll very likely see more of these in the coming months. For example, mobile phones are getting more powerful, making it possible for cybercriminals to profit by using them to mine for cryptocurrencies.”

The highest level of mobile malware was present in Great Britain as 15-20 malware files were blocked per 10,000 users. In comparison the US, India and Germany all had five to 10 malware files blocked per 10,000 users and in Saudi Arabia and the Netherlands it decreased to just two to five per 10,000 users.

Android also saw a number of brand new threats in Q1 2014 as the first instance of a cryptocurrency miner and bootkit cropped up, as well as the debut of both the Tor Trojan and Windows banking Trojan on Android.

When it comes to working out what threats do once they’ve infiltrated, 83 per cent of mobile Trojans send SMS messages to subscription-based services and premium numbers – by far the largest of any common malicious activity.

Related: A guide to spotting Android scam and malware apps

Experts in mobile malware have been warning of just how much of a problem it has become on Android for some time with Kaspersky going as far as to state that a explosion in the number of threats could cripple the Google OS.