According to Kaspersky Labs, Android's Gingerbread 2.3.6 OS was the most popular target for Malware attacks in Q3, with 28 percent of all Android Malware attacks focussing on this version of the operating system.
This may come as no surprise, given that Gingerbread remains the most popularly used version of the Android operating system, however it isn't quite that straightforward. Kaspersky note that in 48 percent of all cases, victims of cybercrime used Gingerbread, which is installed on 55 percent of all devices.
However, the second most popularly attacked OS is Ice Cream Sandwich, accounting for 43 percent of all cases. Ice Cream Sandwich is installed on 23.7 percent of all Android phones.
“Although Gingerbread was released back in September 2011, due to the segmentation of the Android device market it still remains one of the most popular versions, which, in turn, attracts increased interest from Cybercriminals,” said Yuri Namestinkov, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Labs. “The popularity of the most recent version of Android, Ice Cream Sandwich, among virus writers can be explained by the fact that the devices running the latest versions of the OS are more suitable for online activities. Unfortunately, users actively surfing the web often end up on malicious sites.”
The largest number of Malware attacks comes from SMS Trojans. These programs, once installed, take money from users by sending SMS messages in the background to premium rate numbers. One of the more popular versions of this program is called OpFake, which is hidden inside fake versions of the popular third party web browser, Opera Mini.
Other popular versions of Malware found on infected Android handsets were Trojans that collected personal data on phones, uploading it to remote servers. These Trojans can also be used to change bookmarks and the homepage in the bookmarks on the phone, with the aim of sending users to websites infected with malicious code.
Malware is often distributed within apps that are downloaded outside the Google Play Store, from unregulated sites set up by cybercriminals. By downloading apps from trusted sources, and having a reliable security protection package installed, users can significantly cut down the threat of Malware infection on their phones.