July 14, 2011, 1:11 PM — By the end of next year five percent of all Android and iOs smartphones will be infected by trojans and malware, according to analysis by security vendor Trusteer.
The only thing that has to happen for infections to reach that level is that malware writers decide smartphone owners are numerous enough and use their phones for transactions valuable enough to be worth the effort to add support for Android and iOS into zero-day malware and exploit kits, according to Trusteer CEO Mickey Boodaei.
Half of all mobile phones in the U.S. are smartphones, and 38 percent of smartphone users have some kind of banking app on the phone that could be targeted by malware.
That's a large audience and a rich potential target, if malware writers can hit the banking connections specifically, rather than the endless streams of chat between users updating each other on their location or asking why someone else is already late.
Boodaei doesn't seem to think the potential infection rate or level of threat is surprising. Plenty of other people do, considering the anxious reactions to report after report in the past few months that more viruses, malware and exploits are surfacing that specifically target iPhones, iPads or Android devices.
It's time to make clear to anyone who carries a smartphone or tablet or laptop something most people who are even slightly geekish already consider too simplistic to have to say out loud:
Computers are vulnerable to viruses, trojans, malware and hacking.
Smartphones are computers.
Therefore, smartphones are vulnerable to malware and hacking.
If you or anyone you know has a smartphone, tablet, music player or other device running iOS, Android or other operating system that allows them to install software, that device and every other one they own can infected by malware and either ruined or made to give valuable personal information away to strangers.
It sounds stupid to have to say it explicitly, I know. But it wasn't long ago that even Apple found it necessary to remind customers that Apple products are, indeed, vulnerable to hacks and malware.