Mobile malware threat vanishingly small in US, says report

Finally some good news from the security world: If you live in the U.S., the odds of you getting malware on your smartphone are slim.

In fact, you actually are more likely to get struck by lightening than have your mobile device infected with mobile malware, according to a new report from the security firm Damballa, published Wednesday. (Tweet This)

Damballa, which monitors about 49 percent of all U.S. mobile traffic, found that only 9,688 devices out of the 151 million smartphones it tracks had contacted mobile blacklist domains. That means less than 1 percent, 0.0064 percent to be exact, had actually been exposed to mobile malware.

Read MoreCellphones a harder hack target than computers, FireEye's president says

505615805PM00006_Apple_And_
Peter Macdiarmid | Getty Images

The report goes on to cite the National Weather Service stating that the odds of being struck by lightning in ones lifetime are 1 in 12,000 or 0.0083 percent.

"The big reason mobile malware is not a big problem in the U.S. is because of the app stores. For most people in the U.S. they are only installing apps if they come through the Apple Store or Google Play Store. So there is a level security provided by Apple and Google," said Brian Foster, Damballa's chief technology officer.

Yet, while mobile malware isn't that present among U.S. smartphone users, that doesn't mean it isn't a problem elsewhere, especially for Android devices, Foster said.

Countries like China—where Android devices are prevalent but Google Play is not supported—are more prone to have mobile malware problems because users have to use third-party stores to download apps, he said. This means it's a lot easier for unsafe apps to be downloaded.

Another study published last week by Verizon came to a similar conclusion. The company's annual data breach investigations report found that mobile malware isn't as big of a problem as some security firms make it out to be.

While Verizon found hundreds of thousands of malware infections, the majority of these were not serious cases, but just annoying adware. Even though adware is not considered harmful, it can collect personal information from the device that it is installed on including things like a user's birthday, location, serial number and contacts, according to the Verizon report.

About 0.03 percent of tens of millions of mobile devices had been affected by "higher-grade" malicious code—which the report described as a "negligible" amount.