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Watch out Android Users: 18.4 Million Android Devices Will Be Hit with Malware in 2012/2013

Sites include , . Published on December 15th, 2012. Written by Anthony West.

When your mobile OS is seeing well over a million daily activations then all sort of nasty things are bound to find themselves into the fray one way or another. This is the dilemma faced by Google who currently owns the world’s most popular mobile OS in Android.

The last few weeks have been rather testing for Android, especially Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, the latest iteration. The biggest problem of course has been malware and just this week we covered a study which found that Androids equivalent of antibodies, does very little to protect its users from malware. So, no matter how you look at it, Android’s biggest issue is malware. But just how bad is it, and do Android users really have to worry? Security firm Lookout seems to think so and the company’s predictions are less than encouraging.

18.4 million Devices at risk

According to Lookout’s 2013 Mobile Threat Predictions, between the start of 2012 and the end of 2013, more than 18.4 million devices will suffer a malware attack at some point. The company has based its predictions upon its own “likelihood rate of infection” and says that the extrapolation into 2013 is based on the expected shipment base for Android-powered devices.

Put into perspective however, the number doesn’t look too bad. According to Lookout’s projections, the 18.4 million infections would represent just over 1% of all devices. Clearly not a bad number in the wider scheme of things but perhaps terrible if you happen to be one of the 18.4 million infected.

How to protect yourself

Thankfully Lookout hasn’t just spouted a number for the sake of inducing mass panic; the company has also divulged some helpful tips on how users can protect themselves from malware.

Top of the list among the suggestions is that users update their operating system and device apps often. Lookout recommends that as soon as your carrier releases an update you should get it; failure to do so could compromise your device’s security.

Next, the company recommends that users always download and install security app. This app or a combination of them if you are really security conscious should scan every app that you download for malware. Given the inherent weakness in Android’s native threat detection, this bit of advice cannot be overemphasized.

Lookout also recommends that users avoid toll fraud and advises users to check their phone bills for suspicious charges, as well as take due care when connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots, often a source of malware predators. Last but not least, Lookout recommends that users be very vigilant of links and the sites that they visit. Spoofing is one very popular way that malware infects devices—both mobile and desktop.

Google will no doubt be paying lots of attention to Lookout’s predictions and should be up to speed with minimizing the number of infections—even if the total projected infections is just a miniscule 1%.

Do you think Google does enough to protect users of Android? Share your thoughts with us below.

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