Report: U.S. mobile malware infections drop 63%

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The number of phones in the United States infected with malware decreased 63 percent from the first quarter of this year to the second quarter, according to a new report from mobile security firm NQ Mobile. However, the firm said it identified 51,000 new mobile malware threats globally during the first half of this year, infecting an estimated 21 million mobile devices across the world.

"Our midyear report shows that although we discovered 51,000 new mobile malware threats, infection rates continue be very unpredictable and highly localized," said Omar Khan, co-CEO of NQ Mobile. "And as evidenced by the Bill Shocker malware we discovered in January which infected over 600,000 mobile devices, it takes just one successful piece of malware to create a local malware epidemic."

NQ said the United States accounted for 6.5 percent of the world's malware infections. The firm said China leads the world with the largest number of infected phones: NQ said 6.7 million devices were infected with malware in the first half of 2013 in China, a 43 percent increase from the first quarter to the second quarter. Russia and India followed China in terms of the number of new infections.

The top five most infected markets.

NQ said 32 percent of the mobile malware it discovered this year was designed to "collect and profit from a user's personal data," and 23 percent of malware was designed to make a user's device stop working. NQ said the most popular method of infecting a phone was "app repackaging," where hackers add lines of malicious code into a genuine app and repackage and reload it onto a third-party marketplace for unsuspecting mobile users to download and install.

NQ said it obtained its findings through its Security Labs division as well as the 111 million active user accounts it tracks through its NQ Sense mobile security product.

NQ isn't the only company reporting on malware in the mobile industry. According to a new Juniper Networks report, mobile malware threats surged 614 percent between March 2012 and March 2013 to eclipse 275,000 total malicious apps.

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