Security company Kaspersky Lab identified the “continued rapid growth of Android malware” as one of the key trends of 2012, noting that “despite attempts by Google to introduce its own anti-malware technology, malicious applications continued to appear in the official Google Play store”.

According to the company, 99 percent of new mobile malware it detected during the year was designed for Android. It identified more than 35,000 malicious Android programs for the year, which is around six times more than 2011.

The growth was attributed to two factors: economic and platform related. Android has become the most popular smartphone OS, and the open nature of the platform combined with the wide variety of app distribution channels have proved appealing to miscreants.

Looking forward, the company said that there is “unlikely to be any slow-down in the development of malicious apps for Android”.

Kaspersky also said that during the year, the first incident with an “ambiguous” app collecting address book data and sending spam was found in Apple’s App Store. This indicates that despite Apple’s controls, “it’s possible for undesirable apps to slip through the net”.