What Android Fans Don’t Want You To Know?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
By Don Williams

Android Security

A lot of Frandroids will happily give you a huge list of reasons on why Android devices are superior to iOS devices.

They will site such things as Android’s use of: AMOLED screens, as well as larger ones to boot; its so-called open architect; its availability on more carriers, and Androids acceptance of the now dead mobile Flash architecture, etc., etc.

What they won’t tell you, and in fact, what they’ll deny until their blue-in-the-face is its fragmentation issues and its now rapidly growing list of malware.

They will also conveniently be guaranteed to not mention so much as a single word about various studies, such as this one from Juniper Networks, which not only proves that mobile malware is growing significantly, but is almost entirely Android based. As they highlight in their report, Android’s rate of malware growth in the past four months alone was a mind-blowing, and a mind-numbing 472%!, or as they put it themselves:

“What happens when anyone can develop and publish an application to the Android Market? A 472% increase in Android malware samples since July 2011. 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. 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. Sure, your application can be removed after the fact—if someone discovers that it is actually malicious and reports it. But, how many unsuspecting people are going to download it before it is identified as malicious and removed? This is precisely what is playing out in the mind of mobile malware developers today.”

Frandroids love pointing out Android’s explosive growth, now boasting some 550,000 new activations daily, but just don’t expect them to tell you that malware on Android is probably the one thing that is growing even faster then those activations! This, of course, also means that there is now a massive need for Android anti-virus protection.

Android Antivirus Mostly Useless

Unfortunately, as Lifehacker recently asked: “Do Android Antivirus Apps Really Do Anything?” , the short answer might be yes, but unfortunately, antiviral software doesn’t work nearly as well on mobile devices as it does with its desktop cousins, because as they point out:

“There’s no active scanning of files or applications that enter memory, or regular checking of applications that are downloaded and installed. You can’t just install a mobile security suite on your Android phone and assume you’ll be safe regardless of what you do.”

So, is the Android dream of an open-and-free platform really becoming a nightmare?

Well, it may not be as bad as it could be, but it certainly it’s starting to look more and more like it is becoming just that, a malware nightmare indeed.

Even though Google is still overall a great company, and one with great people and great products and great services, Frandroids are nonetheless just dreaming when they ignore the malware nightmare that their so-called open platform now leaves them suddenly vulnerable to.

As for me, I don’t care how big or how bright their screens are, or how many daily activations Android gets, all I want at the end of the day is a platform that is original and free from all of the hassles that fragmentation and malware presents, and now that ships in droves with all of those ‘Droids’ out there, or put in other words: just give me a damn iPhone already?

Opening Android illustration via: Android Headlines

[Editor's note: Android malware problems are worsened due to state of Android updates]

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