Google’s (GOOG) Android has become the dominant mobile platform, accounting for most of the smartphones sold and a majority of tablets. But between the increased popularity of these devices and the wide array of things we do with them — everything from online shopping to paying for coffee, reading corporate e-mail or sending risque texts — criminal elements have taken note.
A new report from Intel’s (INTC) McAfee security division shows Android malware is, quite simply, a pretty big problem. Android was the target of 97% of mobile malware attacks in 2012. Plus, the number of known examples of mobile malware is rising exponentially, from 792 in 2011 to 36,699 in 2012.
Apple (AAPL) has been making the most of the news of Android malware — unofficially, of course. SVP Phil Schiller tweeted another report showing Android was the target of 99% of mobile malware attacks in 2013 and that 71% of Android users had encountered malware.
So far, nothing major has happened — no worldwide freezing of Android smartphones, no mass release of digital photos and no hack into a corporate network blamed on an employee’s Android smartphone. But the potential for a catastrophic event from Android malware is there. And if it happens, a few companies will benefit, instantly making them hot stocks to watch.
Here are a few names that are already hot stocks to watch, and that could cash in on Android malware if we experience a some big-time mobile cyber crime.