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A new report released by G Data Software reveals the astounding rise of malware on the Android platform. During the first quarter of 2015, analysts at G Data discovered 440,267 new strains of malware, or nearly 4,900 each day. It’s likely that the actual number is larger, as there may be some strains of malware in existence that have not yet been discovered by G Data. This is a growth of 6.4% compared to the number of strains discovered in the fourth quarter of 2014, and 21% growth compared to the first quarter of 2014.

A major discovery by G Data is that approximately 50.3% malware on the Android platform is financially motivated. This demonstrates a shift that has been occurring gradually in recent years. In the past, most malware was annoying or even destructive to a system, but only rarely had any financial benefit to the person who created it. This recent shift toward financially motivated malware is especially prominent on the Android platform and could be the result of criminals taking advantage of new opportunities. The report states that about 40% of European users and about half of American users perform banking and financial transactions with their tablets and smartphones. Many criminals are now eager to exploit this new-found reliance on mobile devices for performing financial transactions with malware that steals banking or credit card data.

Also covered in the report is the rise of adware. The report notes that free apps which simply use advertisement while they are running are not considered adware, because that is a perfectly legitimate form of monetization. It only crosses the line into adware if the app is misleading to the user or feeds additional ads to legitimate apps without the user’s knowledge. Adware can be used simply to generate revenue by displaying ads, but can also be used for more sinister purposes like tricking a user into installing additional malware.

Google has attempted to combat the rise of adware by setting up strict rules for content that appears on Google Play. Despite these measures adware finds a home in many third-party app stores. Users are often duped into installing versions of apps from these stores that are available at a lower cost than they are on Google Play. These cheap versions come with adware built-in. It appears that most third-party app stores have no interest in cracking down on adware.

Is this bad news for Android, or is it nothing to be concerned about? Leave your comments below.

Max Michael

Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.