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Malware infects millions of mobile devices through apps

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An estimated 16 million mobile devices are infected by malware, with infections continuing to accelerate, a security firm reports, with apps that implant spyware a particular problem.

Infections were split 50/50 between Android devices and Windows/PCs, with less than 1% coming from other smartphones, according to the report issued Thursday by Motive Security Labs, a unit of Paris-based Alcatel-Lucent. “Windows/PCs remain the workhorse of cyber crime, but the Android platform is catching up,” the report says.

The report says the infection rate is currently 0.68%. There was a 25% increase in the infection rate in 2014, compared with a 20% increase in 2013, according to the report.

Mobile malware is increasing in sophistication, according to the report, and mobile spyware in particular accounts for six of the top 20 types of malware detected.

“These are apps that are used to spy on the phone's owner,” says the report. “They track the phone's location, monitor ingoing and outgoing calls and text messages, monitor email and track the victim's Web browsing.”