At the 2012 IEEE Symposium on Security & Privacy, researchers at North Carolina State University recently announced the Android Malware Genome Project, an effort aimed at cataloguing and systematically characterizing existing Android malware.

"Xuxian Jiang, the mastermind behind the Android Malware Genome Project, says defenses against this malware today are hampered by the lack of efficient access to samples, as well as a limited understanding of the various malware families targeting the Android," writes Dark Reading's Kelly Jackson Higgins. "The goal is to establish a better way of sharing malware samples and analysis, and developing better tools to fight it, he says."

The project has already collected more than 1,200 malware samples, and has determined that existing mobile anti-virus software detects between 20.2 percent and 79.6 percent of the samples. "These results clearly call for the need to better develop next-generation anti-mobile-malware solutions," the researchers state in an overview of the project.

"Xuxian explained that the project was particularly targeted at academic researchers and was designed to supplement vendor-led efforts at mobile malware exchange and analysis," writes The Register's John Leyden. "'I am aware of some malware-exchanging programmes between these vendors, either for Windows-based malware or Android-based malware,' he told El Reg. 'However, it seems hard for independent researchers or academic researchers to be involved. Great innovations can also come from research labs in academia.'"