97% of All Mobile Malware is On Android, But Not Where You Think

97% of All Mobile Malware is On Android, But Not Where You Think

In the field of mobile malware, there’s really only one major player: Android.

Android accounts for over 90% of mobile malware in virtually every security study ever performed. Some studies put that number as high as 95% or 99%.

Android has dominated mobile malware statistics since it became mainstream back in 2010-2011. In 2012, Android malware accounted for 79% of all mobile malware.

Today, according to security research form F-Secure, approximately 97% of all mobile malware is designed for Android devices. However, that malware isn’t found where you think it might be found.

Only 1 out of every 1000 Android viruses are found on the Google Play Store. The vast majority of malware is removed from the Play Store before it harms users. Instead of downloading malware from the Google Play Store, users need to download it from unauthorized third party sources.

mobile malware 2014

Misleading statistics

When you read a statistic like: 97% of all mobile malware is on Android, it sounds alarming. But the truth is: only a miniscule number of Android users will ever download malware. Most of that miniscule will download it from unauthorized third party sources – which means they’re more accountable for their actions than Google really is.

Furthermore, most people who download malware to their Android devices won’t be harmed by it. Android will detect this malware before it becomes a major issue and issue a critical security patch to all users.

Finally, most Android malware affects users outside the western world. 75% of all Android malware comes from Saudi Arabia and India, for example, and never makes its way to Western Europe, North America, or Asian tech centers like Hong Kong and Singapore.

android malware countries

Why is there such a geographic difference for Android malware? The main reason comes from the fact that Google Play Store isn’t available around the world. It has limited functionality in Saudi Arabia and India, for example, as well as plenty of other countries around the world.

Instead of downloading their apps from the Google Play Store, Android users in these countries are more likely to turn to third party stores for support – which is where malware problems occur.

Still worried? You really shouldn’t be. Android is the safest mobile operating system out there today – especially if you’re not from India or Saudi Arabia.