Over five billion downloaded Android apps are vulnerable to being hacked, cybersecurity researchers have found, as attackers exploit flaws in Google's operating system.
Some 96 percent of malware -- or malicious software -- employed by hackers target Google Android, according to U.S. firm FireEye, which analysed more than 7 million mobile apps on Android and Apple iOS between January and October 2014.
Apps designed to steal financial data were especially popular, the researchers found. The open-source nature of Android allows hackers to find the code behind a popular app, they said, and recreate the app almost identically but with a malicious code to infect users.
"You can get all the code and then you can insert additional instructions and make it look and feel like the original app and no way for a consumer to tell the difference when they download it," Jason Steer, director of technology strategy at FireEye told CNBC by phone.