Android and Me

Googler speaks of mobile security, says anti-virus companies are playing with your fears

3 years ago 16

Android is currently the most popular mobile operating system in the planet. With over 200 million devices activated, and over 550,000 added daily, Android is taking over the world. This also raises a concern, though, as developers of malicious software often target platforms with the most exposure. No one will write a malicious app for Symbian, for example, when they can target more people on Android, iOS or Blackberry.

Android users seem to be much more worried about such issues. This fear is reasonable; smartphones hold all of our most important information. Android may be one of the main targets for malevolent virus/malware developers, trying to get your private information. Is it really a huge danger, though? Googler Chris DiBona has spoken up in a Google+ post, mentioning the fact that virus-protections is really not necessary in smartphones.

One tends to believe that an open source project can be much more dangerous. The idea of “open source” is that the community has a lot of influence over what happens with the OS. This does not mean that it is more dangerous, though, as the platform’s success depends greatly on consumer satisfaction. If the operating system was that insecure, people would not choose it.

Another factor also mentioned during discussions relating to this topic is Google having such an open mind about the way the Android Market is run. Google does not limit developers as much as iOS does, and getting an app in the Android Market is much easier and faster. While this may lead to some malicious apps sneaking in, the apps are soon discovered and taken down. He goes on to mention that this happens with every platform’s app stores.

Of course, we also have to be smart consumers. It is the way life runs. Scammers are out there, and they will find a way to somehow try to take your money. One usually does not walk into a store and just buy stuff blindly; many factors come into play – Price, quality, competition, safety, etc.

The same applies to apps. One shouldn’t just rush into the Android Market (or any app store) and buy apps blindly. It is recommended that you check the developer’s reputation, the star ratings, the comments, and take a look at the permissions. Just like crooked sales representatives, a malicious app developer will not be honest. That is why we need to do a bit of research before making important decisions.

As DiBona mentions, though, these apps are quickly put down by Google upon finding out their nature. So we are still quite safe as consumers. He believes that virus protection apps are BS and they do not accomplish much, as all mobile operating systems are very secure.

Yes, virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and IOS. They are charlatans and scammers. IF you work for a company selling virus protection for android, rim or IOS you should be ashamed of yourself.

Yes, a virus of the traditional kind is possible, but not probable. The barriers to spreading such a program from phone to phone are large and difficult enough to traverse when you have legitimate access to the phone, but this isn't independence day, a virus that might work on one device won't magically spread to the other. Chris DibonaGoogle Inc.

The latter paragraph is very true. Segregation does happen, and though we may hate it, it is also something that can keep our phones from spreading a virus. Developers have to work very hard for their apps to work on many Android devices. Sometimes simple things like flashlight apps won’t work with certain phones. Just like apps, we can’t really expect a virus/malware app to be compatible with all devices.

Virus protection may not be all that necessary, after all. I recently performed a format reset on my device, and have just noticed that I forgot to install my favorite protection software, which happens to be Lookout Mobile Security. Even without it, though, I feel very secure, and do not believe there is any form of threat in my device.

Be a careful shopper (just like when you go to the store) and try to stick to reliable app stores. This is the best way to protect yourself. Hit the source link to read Chris DiBona’s full post. What are your views on this? Do you feel like Android is too vulnerable to such threats? Do you use an anti-virus on your device?