Android Security Is a Major Threat: 10 Reasons Why

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2012-04-04
 
 
 

The Numbers Are Growing

Unfortunately for today's Android users, they're facing more threats because there are more of them using the operating system. As in the PC space, mobile hackers want to target the operating system that's most likely to deliver a major financial return. For now, that's Android.

The Numbers Are Growing

Apps Are an Easy Gateway

Unfortunately, Google's Android Market has become a favorite target for malicious hackers. Simply put, Google hasn't done a good enough job vetting the applications that come into its store, and within minutes, malicious programs might be running on devices across the world. Until the app situation is handled on Android, security on the operating system will continue to be a concern.

Apps Are an Easy Gateway

SMS Is A Threat

Text messaging is one of the most popular things people do with their mobile devices nowadays. Unfortunately, cyber-criminals know that all too well. According to several security firms, Short Message Service (SMS) threats are increasing, and will continue to do so over the coming years. Watch out.

SMS Is A Threat

Users Don't Know It's Coming

There's a common concern in the security space that the real threats people face come through Microsoft Windows. But what they don't necessarily see is that the mobile space is also a major threat. Getting caught off-guard is one of the worst things that victims of cyber-crimes can do. And with very few people fully understanding the mobile threats we face, there are many more mobile users out there getting caught off-guard than you might think.

Users Don't Know It's Coming

Who's to Blame?

Android is an odd ecosystem. On one hand, you have Google developing the platform, but device vendors are modifying it as they see fit. So, when trouble arises, pointing a finger at one stakeholder or another isn't necessarily easy. Until a single company can be blamed for a security outbreak, it'll be hard to determine how to improve Android security.

Who's to Blame?

Different Flavors Have Different Issues

Unfortunately, Android software troubles go beyond just different versions of the same operating system. The Android ecosystem is heavily fragmented, with many people using both the latest version—Ice Cream Sandwich—and an outdated option, like Froyo. Cyber-criminals exploit the security issues found in outdated models and put devices at risk. And in some cases, the same issues might not impact all versions of the software. Unfortunately, different Android flavors have very different issues.

Different Flavors Have Different Issues

Apple's iOS Is Relatively Secure

Android isn't the only mobile operating system that's being targeted, of course. Symbian has always been a favored option among cyber-criminals and even Apple's iOS platform has been forced to fend off some attacks. However, it's quickly becoming clear that iOS is relatively secure when compared with Android. That's a problem for Android users, since cyber-criminals are seeing that and targeting Google's OS. If iOS were more vulnerable, Android simply wouldn't face all the threats it does now.

Apple's iOS Is Relatively Secure

More Data Is Going Mobile

There was a time when you would only place phone calls from a mobile device. But now that smartphones and tablets are becoming data-heavy devices capable of doubling as computers, cyber-criminals are capitalizing on that. As more data goes mobile, expect more cyber-criminals to attack Android.

More Data Is Going Mobile

It's Where the Cyber-Criminals Are Going

Want to hear a scary statistic? Between 2010 and 2011, mobile attacks were up 600 percent, according to security firm Kaspersky Lab. Even worse, 65 percent of those threats targeted Android. If that doesn't show why Android security is a major threat, what does?

It's Where the Cyber-Criminals Are Going

Doubt Abounds

Oddly, the mobile space is filled with doubt. Some say that all this talk of mobile security woes is nothing more than ploys on the part of security firms to make more money. Others say it's manufactured to create fear. Here's reality: Security threats are increasing at a rapid rate in the mobile space. And the longer that doubt is allowed to continue in the marketplace, the worse the security issues will be.

Doubt Abounds

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