So far in 2013, the Android ecosystem has exploded with malicious apps designed to cheat users out of money and steal data for hackers.
There are now more than 718,000 known examples of malware in the Android mobile operating system universe, an increase from the 509,000 found in the first half of 2013. Most of them come in the form of fake versions of popular apps and are capable of stealing passwords and personal information, and some can even hijack a phone’s camera.
Security experts blame the “fractured nature of the Android network” for making it difficult for bug fixes to reach all users. Without getting these fixes, users remain vulnerable to hacker attacks.
The Telegraph reported that 44 percent of apps subscribe users to a service without their knowledge, like charging a premium rate for messages that funnel profits to a malware developer. Another 24 percent of Android malware is comprised of data-stealing apps. These are followed by adware and malware that download malicious content.
Western readers will be glad to know that the U.S. and the U.K aren’t even in the top 10 worst-affected countries. Android devices in Saudi Arabia download the most malware, followed by Burma, Vietnam, Mexico and Russia.