Android Virus Threats-Real or Imagined?
By Will765 On 22 Nov, 2011 At 01:40 PM | Categorized As News | With 25 Comments

Recently Juniper Networks released a report claiming a 472% increase in mobile malware since July. Speaking about the android market, the company says  ”These days, it seems all you need is a developer account, that is relatively easy to anonymize, pay $25 and you can post your applications,” the company wrote in a blog post. “With no upfront review process, no one checking to see that your application does what it says, just the world’s largest majority of smartphone users skimming past your application’s description page with whatever description of the application the developer chooses to include.”   Now, most people think of Juniper Networks, and routers for the internet come to mind.  However, in 2004, the company spent 4 billion dollars to acquire Netscreen Technologies, which focuses on internet security.  So Juniper has a vested interest in making it appear viruses run rampant in android systems, and you need to buy some protective software(hopefully theirs).

Earlier this year, Symantec sounded an alarm about android security threats.  Like Juniper did, Symantec pointed out the ability to use the android market to spread malware.  ”As seen with previous Android threats, it is spreading through compromised versions of legitimate applications, available on unregulated third-party Android marketplaces” ,  from the company’s blog.  Once again Symantec, of course, sells security software for PC’s and mobile devices.

Ever hear of Kapersky Labs?  Here’s what they said on the company blog recently- “When it comes to attacking smartphones, there were clear signs that cybercriminals have made Android their platform of choice”,  and “Increasingly sophisticated operations by malicious programs were also noted in Q3 along with some tried-and-tested methods: innocuous QR codes are now being used to conceal malware and computers are facing threats even before their operating systems start as cybercriminals revisit BIOS infection methods.”  Maybe not so surprisingly, Kapersky also sells anti-virus software.

 

So, if all these companies are so concerned about android viruses, should you be also?  A realistic look at the situation will tell you the answer is no.  Can a virus infect android devices? Of course.  But has it happened on any kind of a large scale yet? No.  And the likelihood of that occurring is very low.  Chris Dibona, Google’s open source engineering manager, had this to say recently- ”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.”  Now, of course he works for Google, and has his own vested interests.  But look at the facts, there has been no virus that has posed any real problems related to android.  A few apps have been found on the market which were malware, and were quickly removed, with very few downloads.  And Google remotely deleted the apps on those phones that had downloaded the infected apps.  At no point was the malware able to spread to any degree.  Common sense will tell you to only download apps which have a significant number of previous downloads, and stay away from any app provider besides the major ones-android market, Amazon app store, Getjar, etc.  Don’t take a risk of getting some app from an unknown source, and your chances of getting a virus are practically zero.  And the same same can be said for the need of security software for android-practically zero.

About - Bill Anderson posts under the clever alias will765. Gets to work from a home office for a piano moving company, in glorious Lake Hopatcong, NJ. Pretty new to android, but love technology and have been building my own(and friends)pc's for about 15 years


Displaying 25 Comments
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