Anti-virus company tolls Android malware bell
I go away for one day and return to the TechoVerse – or at least, the Android-related portion of it – being full of the increasing threat of malware. The source of the wave of stories is Intel-owned McAfee…
TechCrunch, for example, reports
Intel-owned McAfee has released its third quarter security report, which shows that malware targeted towards phones running on the Android operating system continues to be on the rise. According to the report, Android OS solidified its lead as the primary target for new mobile malware. The amount of malware targeted at Android devices jumped nearly 37 percent since last quarter, and puts 2011 on track to be the busiest in mobile and general malware history. Nearly all new mobile malware in Q3 was targeted at Android. This follows a 76 percent rise in Android malware in Q2 of 2011.
See also – Android Market Serves Up Malware (technorati.com)
A Google response came via Chris DiBona. In a Google+ posting, he makes the valid point that open source software has long been – mistakenly – tarred with the insecure brush. (It is the old – and surely disproved belief that closed (proprietary) and secret is best because the ‘bad guys’ will not discover the unlocked internal doors, but open source is there for all to see… and also for he good guys to see, and correct…)
Sometimes I read an article about open source that drives me nuts. A recent one stated, without irony, that ‘critics have been pounding the table for years about open source being inherently insecure’ and that android is festooned with viruses because of that and because we do not exert apple like controls over the app market.
Let me speak to the first one: Open source, which as you know is present in a major way in all three major mobile phone operating systems (android, ios, rim) is software, and software can be insecure. I would posit that popular open source software only gets to become that popular if they pay close attention to security and respond to users concerns about the same, otherwise other projects come to the fore.
ComputerWorld takes it up:
Antivirus experts disagree with Chris DiBona, Google’s open-source programs manager, who recently said that there is no virus problem on the Android platform and that companies selling anti-malware software for mobile operating systems are “charlatans.”
“Yes, virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and IOS,” DiBona said in a post on Google+. “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,” he added.
According to DiBona, none of the major smartphone operating systems has a virus problem that is similar to what the Windows and Mac ecosystems experience.