Juniper Networks Global Threat Center conducted a study, “The Malicious Mobile Threats Report 2010/2011.”  Their findings point to a 400% rise in malware threats, demonstrating that smartphones are being targeted by criminals looking to commit identity theft.

Part of the reason the attacks are being directed at the Android-based phones is their increasing popularity.  Analysts predict Google will own half of the smartphone market world-wide in the next year.  Prior to its release, the Nokia-based system (Symbian) was the primary target.

According to Jupiter’s report, malware comes in via downloaded apps and text messages.  “17 percent of all reported infections were due to SMS trojans that sent SMS messages to premium rate numbers, often at irretrievable cost to the user or enterprise.”

Juniper Networks highlights that users fail to protect their smartphones, as only about 10% of users have security software operating on their phone.  Juniper recommends using antivirus software similar to what is used on a PC to protect ones phone from malware and intrusion.  They also recommend using complex passwords with capital letters, symbols and numbers.