News24

Google slams Android 'virus threat'

2011-11-22 09:37

San Francisco - Google has slammed an internet security firm's report that suggested malware and viruses placed users of the Android operating system at risk.

Internet security firm McAfee warned on Monday of a growing risk of malware and viruses targeting users of smartphones running on Google's Android operating system.

Chris DiBona, open source program manager for Google, downplayed the report as a self-serving strategy by security companies to scare people into buying their products.

"No major cellphone has a 'virus' problem in the traditional sense that windows and some Mac machines have seen. There have been some little things, but they haven't gotten very far," DiBona wrote in a blog posting.

The warning came just days after Google announced that over 200 million Android devices had now been activated, and as new studies showed that Android devices now account for more than 50% of all smartphones sold worldwide, according to market research firm Gartner.

McAfee said it had logged a 37% increase in Android malware since July, and added that all the new malware it had catalogued was targeted at Google's mobile operating system.

McAfee said the authors of the damaging software were aided in their efforts by the open nature of the Android operating system, which allows anyone who buys a $25 developers' licence to post software for download on the Android Market.

This contrasts sharply with Apple's model, in which every proposed app is closely vetted by the company before it is made available on the App Store.

"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," wrote DiBona.

Comments
  • Shawn - 2011-11-22 09:46

    We'll have to wait and see about this now, won't we?

      Squeegee - 2011-11-22 09:51

      Get an iphone!

  • Joe-Moer - 2011-11-22 09:56

    McAfee is the most bloated computer security software on the market. They even resort to sneaky marketing strategies like getting you to download their software when you are downloading other software like Adobe Flash.

  • tristan.kilian - 2011-11-22 10:23

    My android phone, which is 10 months old, stopped working last night. It said "no sim inserted". So I put my sim in my old phone (non-android) and it worked perfectly. I'm now in a world free of android and it's quite liberating.

      gerhard.nel - 2011-11-22 11:00

      This doesn't sound like a software problem. Maybe your phone is broken hardware wise.

      tristan.kilian - 2011-11-22 11:22

      Really? I've just been told it's a software problem and I must re-run software update from my PC.

      profkaygee - 2011-11-22 12:11

      You have been told? What do you think the problem is?

      Monique - 2011-11-22 12:38

      My phone sends data to(or attempts cause I turn off my data mode when not using it) random people on my phone book. When I check my logs for the previous day, it shows a funny film icon where a normal phone or envelope is and I hadn't communicated with the person in ages? wtf...

  • koo.doyle - 2011-11-22 10:29

    Such old news. Yawn.

  • gerhard.nel - 2011-11-22 10:31

    "This contrasts sharply with Apple's model, in which every proposed app is closely vetted by the company before it is made available on the App Store." Well just 2 weeks ago an developer for iPhone apps inserted an virus in one of the Apps to "test" Apple. They didn't pick it up and he had to alert them. So that doesn't say much about there "vetting" process. http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2011/11/07/iphone-security-bug-lets-innocent-looking-apps-go-bad/

  • Slade - 2011-11-22 10:59

    Going from 1 infection to 5 would be a 500% increase ....so please shove your scare tactics and bloatware up yr %^* McAfee ....Android FTW

  • Monique - 2011-11-22 12:39

    My phone sends data to(or attempts cause I turn off my data mode when not using it) random people on my phone book. When I check my logs for the previous day, it shows a funny film icon where a normal phone or envelope is and I hadn't communicated with the person in ages? wtf...

      PyroSA - 2011-11-22 12:47

      I can't vouch for your specific phone an apps, as I don't know what you have installed on it. Perhaps some app that does video calls going rogue? You're not doing the sleep-dialing thing, are you? ;)

  • NuttyZA - 2011-11-22 14:49

    if you are running android, install Lookout... it's antivirus and anti theft software and best part, it is free!!!

  • jhavenga1 - 2011-11-23 15:20

    soooooo.... there goes my outdated X10 :(

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