McAfee (NASDAQ:INTC), the virus scanning software that anyone who bought a Windows PC in the last however many years is likely familiar with, has released an alarming report on malware for mobile devices, and it doesn’t look so good for Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), but does for Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).
McAfee’s report details a number of different backdoors, exploits, and spyware that allow attackers to access personal files on smartphones. From there, the attackers have a wide range of actions they can take, from harvesting sensitive data to controlling the device entirely. This is not the kind of thing a user wants to happen, especially as devices are quite expensive and the data stored on them is increasing every year — even banking data is growing on smart devices, which would be dangerous in the wrong hands.
One of the most alarming figures was how much mobile malware has grown in just the past year. In 2011, researchers at McAfee only found 792 samples of mobile malware. In the beginning of 2013, they counted 36,699, with a majority of those first popping up in the prior 12 months…
This all is especially bad news for Google because the vast majority of the malware that McAfee found was on the Android operating system. Android was followed by Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Symbian, other mobile operating systems, and then Java ME. According to McAfee, Android made up “97 percent of total mobile malware.”
This is a perfect case of ‘what’s bad for Google is good for Apple,’ because the McAfees results don’t even mention the word “Apple” once, and there are no allusions to worms. It could just be that McAfee didn’t look into Apple’s iOS — or, more hauntingly, that malware on iOS is undetectable — but that seems unlikely. Rather, this may be a chance for Apple to boast of its operating systems’ strength against hackers, viruses, and exploits once again.