Android devices are 100 times more likely to contract malware than iOS devices, a report from the US Homeland Security and Department of Justice has stated.
The unclassified report, which reveals that 79 per cent of malware threats to mobile devices in 2012 hit the Android platform, also says that only 0.7 per cent affected iOS devices, while Windows mobile platforms took 0.3 per cent, as did BlackBerry.
Surprisingly, Homeland Security states that Accenture’s Symbian, which Nokia dropped in early 2011 as its primary platform – in favour of Windows Phone OS – was infected by 19 per cent of malware in 2012.
The report, which goes on to state that “44 per cent of Android users are still using versions 2.3.3 through 2.3.7 – known as Gingerbread”, suggests that a lot of users of Google’s mobile OS are suffering from “security vulnerabilities that were fixed in later versions”.
Homeland Security seems particularly interested in Android’s capacity to attract malware due to the fact that “the growing use of mobile devices by federal, state and local authorities makes it more important than ever to keep mobile OS patched and up-to-date”.
The report goes on to flag up “SMS Trojans”, rootkits and “fake Google play domains” as three of the worst offenders standing in the way of malware-free mobile devices.
In related news, Google yesterday announced, in a set of new Android Developer Program policies, that it will block every application from the Android Play Store that displays ads or links in the notification bar, as well as apps that make changes to devices without informing or obtaining permission from the owner.
Applications that place fixed shortcuts on the device’s main screen or advertising-based bookmarks will also be blocked.
Further, apps promoting themselves with incorrect information such as fake user reviews, fake or misleading developer or website names, or anything infringing on the intellectual property of others are also banned.
There are several other additions to the new policies, but the general gist seems to be a far stricter approach to regulation from Google, bringing its marketplace rules far closer to that operated by Apple.
Do you think Google is right to bring in these changes, in the light of reports such as Homeland Security’s? Are you an Android developer that feels such changes may affect your business? We’d love to hear from you.