32.8 Million Android Devices Infected in 2012

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NQ Mobile today released its 2012 Security Report [PDF file], which states that the number of mobile malware threats increased by 163 percent to more than 65,000 in 2012. The company says almost 95 percent of all mobile malware in 2012 targeted the Android operating system, and the top three methods for delivering such malware were app repackaging, malicious URLs, and smishing.

According to the report, more than 32.8 million Android devices were infected in 2012, an increase of more than 200 percent from 2011.

And the surge has continued in recent months -- NQ Mobile estimates that more than 10 million devices were infected in the first quarter of 2013.

The company also identified 25,140 new threats in the first quarter of 2013, more than 38 percent of the total for 2012.

Seven percent of mobile malware discovered in 2012 was simply designed to brick the victim's phone, and 28 percent was designed to collect and profit from the victim's personal data.

The leading markets for infected devices were China at 25.5 percent, India at 19.4 percent, Russia at 17.9 percent, the U.S. at 9.8 percent, and Saudi Arabia at 9.6 percent.

"The security industry's 'discover-first-and-inoculate-second' strategy is no longer enough," NQ Mobile co-CEO Omar Khan said in a statement. "We need smarter systems that can discover threats before they infect consumers as well as more education so consumers can better spot and avoid these new mobile scams."