The number of malware that aim the Android mobile operating system has gone up by 400 per cent since summer of last year, according to a report by Juniper Networks.

According to the Mobile Malicious Threats report, although smartphones face countless safety threats, few users actually work on protecting them. A 2010 study by SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute showed that only 15 per cent of users install antivirus in their phones. About 17 per cent of these smartphone malwares originate from SMS Trojans and mostly affect users in China and Russia where it is simple for offenders to register premium rate telephone numbers.

“The last 18 months have produced a non-stop barrage of newsworthy threat events, and while most had been aimed at traditional desktop computers, hackers are now setting their sights on mobile devices,” said Jeff Wilson, principle analyst, Security at Infonetics Research, in the company website.

“Operating system consolidation and the massive and growing installed base of powerful mobile devices is tempting profit-motivated hackers to target these devices,” he added.

Infonetics also predicted the security software market will grow from nearly $345m in 2010 to about $1.85b in 2015.

“These findings reflect a perfect storm of users who are either uneducated on or disinterested in security, downloading readily available applications from unknown and unvetted sources in the complete absence of mobile device security solutions,” said Dan Hoffman, chief mobile security evangelist at Juniper Networks in the website.

The report by Juniper, in their website, recommends the following guidelines for consumers:

1. Install an on-device anti-malware solution to protect against malicious applications, spyware, infected SD cards, and malware-based attacks on the device.
2. Use an on-device personal firewall to protect device interfaces.
3. Require robust password protection for device access.
4. Implement anti-spam software to protect against unwanted voice and SMS/MMS communications.
5. For parents, use device usage monitoring software to oversee and control pre-adult mobile device usage and protect against cyberbullying, cyberstalking, exploitative or inappropriate usage, and other threats.

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