Throw another log onto the proverbial Android malware fire: According to mobile security firm NQ Mobile, infections targeting devices running the Google-based operating system doubled in 2012. That translates to a 163 percent increase from 2011 and accounts for over 65,000 different types of malware discovered, up 30,000 from 25,000 the year before.

This is at least per the firm’s 2012 Security Report, an annual review of malware scanned by NQ Mobile and its Security Lab, released Monday.

A handful of other trends are discussed in the report, including a decrease in malware targeting Symbian-based devices, and China being responsible for the lion’s share of infections globally.

The report also breaks down three of the most prevalent malware attack vectors, like how attackers are still taking genuine apps from Google’s Play marketplace, adding malicious code and then uploading the tweaked app to third party app stores.

Attackers are also using malicious URLs and SMS phishing, or smishing to thwart Android users.

Attacks on Android devices are a fairly regular occurrence these days, and have grown exponentially, at one point in 2011, even up 742 percent over the course of three months. In China, botnets, some 100 million strong, composed entirely of Android devices thrive, while in Japan, malicious apps litter messageboards and phony app marketplaces.

Global Android Infection RatesSamsung-branded devices have shared the brunt of Android’s troubles as of late. SMS vulnerabilities and password bypass flaws have been discovered on a handful of Samsung Galaxy devices over the past month or so, forcing the vendor to work on a patch to address the issue.

For those interested in the full NQ Mobile report, it can be viewed here. (.PDF)

Categories: Mobile Security