Android’s a malware magnet, says McAfee

Malware targeted toward Android devices continues to surge, says a new report from McAfee, pushing 2011 to become the busiest year in history for both mobile and general malware.

The amount of malware infecting Android devices during the third quarter grew almost 37 percent from the second quarter, according to McAfee’s Third-Quarter Threats Report (PDF). Android’s growing demand among consumers has made it an increasingly ripe and inviting target for cybercriminals.

How inviting? Almost all new mobile malware over the third quarter was aimed squarely at Android. Legacy software being what it is, though, among all mobile platforms, Nokia’s Symbian OS still saw the greatest amount of malware.

One common scheme against Android is led by Trojans that collect personal information and steal money from the user by sending SMS messages. Another type of malware records phone conversations and sends them to the attacker.

As a result of the onslaught against Android and the growth in overall malware, McAfee now believes the industry will see 75 million unique pieces of malware by the end of the year, up from its previous forecast of 70 million. That number promises to make 2011 a record year for malware.

“This has been a very steady quarter in terms of threats, as both general and mobile malware are more prevalent than ever,” said Vincent Weafer, senior vice president of McAfee Labs, in a statement. “So far this year, we’ve seen many interesting yet challenging trends that are affecting the threat landscape, including heightened levels of sophistication and high-profile hacktivist attacks.”

Full Story Via Cnet