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Android adware warning - Comment from Webroot

February 2015 by Webroot

Following the news that several Android apps have been removed from the Google Play Store after millions of users were infected through adware, I thought the following information and comment from Cameron Palan, Sr. Mobile Threat Research Analyst at Webroot might be of interest to you.

Cameron Palan, Sr. Mobile Threat Research Analyst at Webroot:

“It comes as no surprise that Google Play has issued a warning to its users that popular apps may contain malicious adware. Since its inception the Android app store has had the reputation of being a fairly open development community, allowing developers a fair amount of flexibility. This freedom, however, has resulted in the store containing far more infected apps, whether this is through adware or any other form of Malware.

“This is in contrast to the Apple iTunes Store where developers are made to stick to strict guidelines and apps are put through a rigorous vetting process once completed. According to Webroot’s Mobile Threat Report, an analysis of 4m Android apps revealed that 15 percent were classed as malicious, and only 14 percent were classed as trustworthy.

“Android users should take care when downloading apps and try to ensure that it is from a reputable developer. On top of this, they should take a proactive approach to security and install anti-virus protection to the device. Currently this is not the case, with most people relying on the pre-installed security that comes on the device.”


In 2014, Webroot, a specialist in mobile threat protection looked at the risks and trends in the mobile space. It also includes a comparison of Android and iOS platforms. Please find the full report attached and a summary below.


Analysis of 4m apps

15% malicious

14% suspicious

13% unwanted

6% moderate

38% benign

14% trustworthy

This overall threat level rose 384% compared to data collected in 2012.

Most infected categories:

Arcade and Action Games: 7,211 infections

Communication: 4,428 infections

Entertainment: 3,397 infections

Health and Fitness: 2,752 infections

Music and Audio: 669 infections

News, Magazines, and Comics: 33 total infections

Shopping: 24 infections

Sports: 15 infections


Analysis of 1m apps

1% moderate

7% trustworthy

92% benign

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