Android’s massive worldwide footprint coupled with its open source nature make it a very attractive target for malware, as new data from F-Secure illustrates. The developer of security software said Google’s operating system accounted for 79 percent of all mobile malware in 2012, up from 66.7 percent the year before and about 11 percent in 2010. And that trend appears to be accelerating in a big way, with Android drawing an astounding 96 percent of all malware threats in the fourth quarter of 2012.
Apple’s iOS, on the other hand, drew only .7 percent of all mobile attacks in 2012, and Apple executive Phil Schiller was quick to pounce on F-Secure’s report with this subtle tweet. And there’s no question that security has become a key selling point for Apple, especially in the enterprise where it continues to make inroads while Android lags far behind. But Android’s security problems also provide an opportunity for manufacturers who can develop a more secure version of Google’s platform and market ultra-secure Android gadgets. Samsung has a chance to capitalize in a big way with its SAFE initiative, which could give Android a big boost in the mobile enterprise market. And F-Secure’s data is the latest evidence that Google risks becoming the slumlord of Android, as I wrote earlier this week.