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5,000 New Mobile Malware Strains Appear Every Day

440,000 new Android malware strains appeared in the first quarter of 2015, which means that a new mobile malware strain for Android is discovered every 18 seconds—and 5,000 per day.

That’s the word from G DATA and its Q1 2015 Mobile Malware Report, which found that banking trojans and other financial bugs make up a big chunk of the new strains: 50% of Android malware has a direct financial motivation.

"The use of smartphones and tablets for online banking is increasing rapidly. With its dominant market position, the Android operating system in particular is coming to the attention of cyber-criminals. Hence it is no surprise that attackers are developing and distributing financial malware such as banking trojans especially for this platform," said Christian Geschkat, G DATA mobile solutions product manager. "As such, we are expecting a significant increase in financially motivated malware for the Android operating system this year."

Overall, the number of new Android malware instances increased by 6.4% compared to the fourth quarter of 2014 (413,871). Compared to the first quarter of 2014 (363,153), the increase is even larger: 21%.

Further, G DATA security experts expect a rapid increase in the number of new Android malware instances in 2015 as well. Because of the consistently high distribution figures for the operating system, cyber-criminals are determined to get malware into circulation here, the report noted.

“Mobile banking and online shopping are booming,” the firm noted. “Fifty per cent of US consumers use a smartphone or tablet for their banking transactions, and 78% of Internet users make purchases online. This is a trend that has also attracted the attention of cyber-criminals recognizing the exploitation possibilities such as forced subscriptions via premium SMS or calls, extortion via ransomware, and remote control of money transfers.”

Also, the internet of things is exacerbating the issue. Whether these are smart cars, heating equipment or routers, researchers are coming across more and more security deficiencies. In many cases, smartphones and tablets are being used to control intelligent devices. The G DATA analysts expect that smart devices will become a major attack vector.

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