Mobile threat landscape — is Android really safe?

Emerging mobile threat landscape

We are already seeing the effect. For example, the number of mobile viruses tripled over the past year to now measure 2.6 million by our latest count.

They are facing PUA (potentially unwanted applications) for example. There are also apps that collect a heavy-handed amount of personal data, or others that spam users with unwanted messages and notifications. This is what we call the ‘grey area’ of mobile software. Android users are particularly affected.

Security industry is evolving

Even so, one of the current industry debates calls into question the need for providing mobile security software, such as Android Antivirus, based on the supposedly high level of security in app stores.

At Avira, using complex generic detection algorithms, we have been able to identify a daily average of a few thousand apps containing adware on Android, not to mention several hundred malicious apps that we classify as either PUA or malware.

We recently took for example a sample of 30,000 apps which we define as malicious, PUA, SPR or aggressive adware. Of these apps 13,011 were found on Google play, where 233 were malware and the rest falling into the other threat categories.

Our mission at Avira is to protect users against all threat vectors, whether PC, tablet or smartphone. Given most people now take their devices to work, we also no longer believe the problem fits neatly into a consumer vs. business box. It affects everyone.

The battle against security threats in mobile ecosystems like Android is only beginning. It promises to be larger and more sophisticated than the PC one ever was.

This post is also available in: German

Chief Executive Officer