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US government says Android is a malware magnet thanks to OS fragmentation

28 Aug 2013

Android's persistent fragmentation problem isn't just a Google problem, but a federal government concern too. A new study issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that Android devices expose US agencies to a significantly greater malware threat in large part because so many devices run outdated versions of the mobile OS. Of the malicious attacks documented in the study, 79 percent took place on an Android device. Meanwhile, Apple's iOS received just 0.7 percent of the recorded malware threats.

In addition to fragmentation, the fact that Android is the most widely used mobile OS on the planet also makes it a target for hackers, the DHS and FBI say. About half of the malware threats Android devices encountered in the study — which is based off of data collected in 2012 — came by way text messages that installed attacking apps, the agencies say. Neither organization went so far as to say that Android devices shouldn't be used. But the DHS and FBI did issue a joint statement offering the study's findingsas something for police, fire, and other emergency responders to consider. Google officials did not respond to a request for comment by press time

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