May 05, 2017 05:40 AM EDT
Since January 2017, G Data, an antivirus software company, has discovered that over 750,000 new malicious apps came out on Android devices. At the rate that the malware-infested software is rapidly spreading, by December 2017, its total number could reach 3.5 million, security researchers warn.
The Next Web reports that the problem is rampant among gadgets from third-party phone manufacturers whose software updates are usually less frequent and significantly delayed. In comparison to the 3.2 million and 2.3 million infected apps in 2016 and 2015, respectively, which G Data researchers identified, the 750,000 discovered in Q1 is equivalent to 23 percent and 33 percent, respectively, of the past two years’ infected apps.
About two-thirds of the infected apps, according to G Data, were in Android Lollipop and Marshmallow which accounted for 32 percent and 31.2 percent, respectively. The two were followed by KitKat (20 percent), Jelly Bean (10.1 percent), Nougat (4.9 percent) and Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich with identical 0.9 percent.
Given the speed the malware spreads, G Data estimates a new Android malware is discovered every 10 seconds, 9To5Google reports. The risk is compounded by the reality that only 4.9 percent of devices owners run on Android 7 or Nougat. Older devices, or those more than one year, do not adopt the new Android OS if the devices come from a third-party provider.
However, the tech websites do not discount the possibility that G Data, which sells anti-virus software for Android gadgets, may have a vested interest in playing up the risk of affected malware. It adds the bulk would affect apps from third-party apps stores, and the bulk would be adware which is not risky but could be annoying.
The report by G Data shows that mobile devices have become an increasingly lucrative target for cyber criminals, CNET reports. The apps pretend to be innocent and useful but target to steal data or force users to pay for ransomware.
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