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'Insidious' apps pose threat to smartphones

By Gao Yuan  (China Daily)

13:48, July 30, 2012

The amount of malware surged in May and June. Nearly 3.7 million smartphones were attacked by malicious apps in June, the highest number ever recorded, according to a half-year mobile Internet safety report released by NQ Mobile Inc, China's largest mobile security provider by user number. (Photo/China Daily)

Chinese smartphone users face increasing threats from malicious applications as a rising number of applications designed to hack the phones' operating systems have poured into the market over the past two months, said an industry report.

The amount of malware surged in May and June, according to a half-year mobile Internet safety report released by NQ Mobile Inc, China's largest mobile security provider by user number.

More than 10,000 apps designed to hack smartphones were detected as of June. There were fewer than 2,000 detected in April.

Nearly 3.7 million smartphones were attacked by malicious apps in June, the highest number ever recorded.

Smartphones running the Android system were the biggest victims. A total of 3 million Android phones were attacked last month, according to the report, adding that the number of attacks against the world's most used open-source operating system jumped by 62 percent in the first six months of this year compared with the second half of 2011. The infection rate of smartphones running the Android system hit 78 percent in June. The figure was 40 percent at the end of last year.

Nokia Corp's Symbian was the second-biggest target for malicious software, with fewer than 500,000 new infections each month, far lower than Android's figures. However, the disparity is not because Symbian users have better malware protection than Android's. Rather, experts say it reflects the fact that Symbian is a dying operating system.

Last year, Nokia decided to adopt Microsoft's Windows operating system and abandoned Symbian, letting its user numbers decline.

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