Appolicious powers Verizon Educational Tools

Android loses ground to iPhone, gains in malware threats

by Kristen Nicole

Now that Verizon’s (VZ) able to sell the iPhone, is Android’s market share suffering? A chart released from Needham’s Charlie Wolf demonstrates “The Verizon iPhone Effect,” noting Apple’s (AAPL) share of the US smartphone market gaining 12.3 percentage points to nearly 30 percentage in March, while Android’s share fell to just below 50 percentage. This is the first sequential loss for Android since it swiftly took over smartphone market share across the globe. Wolf says this is just the beginning of Android’s share loss in the US, writing that “the migration of subscribers to the iPhone on the Verizon network should accelerate this fall when Apple coordinates the launch of iPhone 5 on GSM and CDMA networks.”

Android still popular for malware attacks

Android may be losing ground as the iPhone spreads beyond the AT&T (T) network, but its still-dominant presence is attracting malware attacks from every side. An Android Trojan called GGTracker has been uncovered, with a new trick up its sleeve. It’s one of the first known instances of a malicious website targeting US-based Android users, imitating the Android Market. Unlike most recent malware attacks which repackage a legit app, GGTracker is automatically downloaded on a user’s phone after they visit this malicious website. Users are shown an in-app ad that directs them to the malicious website dressed up as an Android Market installation screen, using Google’s (GOOG) own interface against them.

Google, McAfee and others tackle the mobile security problem

As security concerns over mobile devices rise, the malware attacks get sneakier and the companies fighting them get more aggressive. Many look to Google to address the issue, and the Android platform maker has even teamed up with Verizon, launching a security app called Net Safety Tips on the Go. It’s full of suggestions for mobile browsing and network protection, but does little to actually protect devices. Other companies like McAfee are reveling in the new opportunities mobile brings, launching McAfee Mobile Security and WaveSecure Tablet Edition just in time for GGTracker.

But when it comes to malware such as GGTracker, it’s Commtouch that has the security advantage, launching a URL filter for mobile browsers. Called GlobalView URL Filtering, the service extends web security, parental controls and enterprise compliance to active mobile browsing. Known for its protection tools on the web, Commtouch is making the leap to mobile security, leveraging its cloud-based database of indexed sites to jump-start mobile browsing protection.