You could be carrying a virus with you everywhere you go. This new strand doesn’t target the immune system, but rather the operating system — on your smartphone.
Smartphone usage has skyrocketed over the past few years. There are now more than 1 billion active smartphones, or one for every seven people on the planet. Because of their immense popularity, smartphones have become a main target for nefarious hackers looking to spread malware and steal personal information.
The main avenue for viruses to infect smartphones is through third-party apps. There are over one million apps combined for the two most popular mobile operating systems, Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS.
Many hacked apps, often made to look like popular apps, are rigged with malware. More than 90% of the top-selling Android and iOS apps have hacked versions available for download on torrent sites and other unofficial platforms, according to a study by Arxan, a mobile security company.
Up to this point, Apple seems to be doing a better job protecting its mobile users against cyber threats. The iPhone has never seen a virus, and its only spam app was removed. Conversely, 75% of smartphone malware targets Android devices, according to F-Secure.
One probable reason hackers target Android over Apple is that the former enjoys a much greater share of the smartphone market. More than 50% of all smartphone users employ the Android OS, while Apple’s market share is closer to 30%. With far more people using Android devices, a virus has the ability to do much greater damage.
For more on mobile app security and how the top two operating systems stack up, check out the following infographic, created by Ladbrokes Games.