18M Android Devices Could Catch Malware In 2013 – Watch Out!

By Alexandra Burlacu | Dec 15, 2012 10:10 AM EST

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Malware reports make frightening predictions for 2013 when it comes to the Android platform, with an estimated 18,000 Android devices expected to face malware attacks.

While it's no secret that malware has been increasingly targeting the Android platform, recent reports point to more malware than ever before. Predictions for 2013 are no less alarming, as many anti-virus companies are predicting that 2013 will be a record year for malware.

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"The mobile era is underway, and 2013 will find people more dependent than ever on their mobile devices to control countless aspects of their personal, public and business lives. The possibilities of this trend are exciting, but heavy reliance and a trove of information on devices are enticing to attackers, putting people, businesses and their most sensitive data at risk," warns anti-virus company Lookout Mobile.

Several antivirus companies, including Lookout Mobile, reported that an estimated 18 million Android devices globally may catch a malicious digital code in 2013. It is a frightening prediction, but a number of contributing factors have raised red flags.

First of all, Android is the world's most popular mobile operating system. As lookout Mobile points out, more than a billion Android devices are expected to sell in 2013 alone, and those phones will download an estimated 70 billion apps. Being the most popular platform already makes Android a perfect target for malware. Count in the fact that it's open source and allows users to download apps from unauthorized third-party developers, and it's pretty much a bulls-eye on Android's back.

In some way, it is much like Windows computers' tendency to catch viruses. It's not that the malware is so easy to catch, but the whopping number of users usually means that someone, somewhere, will likely find a way to get it.

Moreover, an increase in malware-bearing apps is expected as well. Basic math: more malware + more devices capable of catching malware = more devices infected with malware.

On the other hand, while the predictions are alarming, the bigger picture is not so dark. If 18 million Android devices catch malware in 2013, and 1.2 billion are purchased, it means that 15 out of 1,000 devices, i.e. 1.5 percent, will catch the virtual bug.

At the end of the day, while nothing can guarantee nothing wrong will happen, users can prevent catching malware on their Android devices. Basically, Android users need to be more careful about what they download and refrain from installing apps unless they trust the developer and/or the Web site or app store in question.

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