Mobile malware threats surged by 163% to more than 65,000 in 2012, according to NQ Mobile.
Data from the mobile internet services provider also show that the problem is becoming more complex as smarter mobile malware can better target connected devices. Nearly 95% of all mobile malware discovered in 2012 targeted the Android OS.
The top three methods for delivering malware in 2012 were app repackaging (concealing malicious malware in a seemingly legitimate app), malicious URLs (fake URLs masquerading as legitimate ones like banking websites), and smishing (phishing by way of SMS messages).
NQ Mobile estimates that these forms of malware helped infect an estimated 32.8 million Android devices in 2012, triple the infections from 2011.
The top five markets by infected mobile devices were China (25.5%), India (19.4%), Russia (17.9%), United States (9.8%) and Saudi Arabia (9.6%).
NQ Mobile said its Security Labs have been also been observing increased collaboration between mobile hackers and cybercriminals. Mobile hackers are using malware to capture consumers' private information and then selling this information to cybercriminals who are in turn using social engineering tactics to gain access to the consumers' finances.
Of all the malware discovered in 2012, 28% was designed to collect and profit from a user's personal data.