Google slams Android 'virus threat'
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.