The latest news from the Android mobile world is that up to 21 repackaged, malicious apps have been found on the Android Market as of yesterday, according to AndroidPolice.com. Just be thankful that they were all from one publisher, as the apps contained trojan exploits capable of gaining root access to devices, steal the IMEI and other details, and install malware.
The competition? You could say it looks like Apple will once again be the safer and less-used alternative to an OS that is rapidly gaining market share, developers, and apps. Trend Micro have said it before: Android is more susceptible to traditional viruses and malware. The sandbox approach Apple has taken to isolate the platform “…prevents certain viruses that want to replicate themselves or decompose and recompose to avoid virus scanners…,” says Steve Chang from Trend Micro. The tight control that Apple exercises over developer submissions to the App Store, so readily criticised by some, appears to be benefiting its users. Apple are able to greatly reduce, if not completely remove, the threat of malicious apps being listed and available for download on the App Store, therefore protecting their platform and users. Android obviously police the Market, and are able to remotely remove any threats from devices, but appear to have prioritised development over security.
Is this latest threat a result of targeting due to higher market share? The latest figures from The Nielsen Company indicate that Android is a mere 2% greater than iOS. Even allowing for a variation, there’s no clear winner, so it would almost be safe to assume it isn’t hackers concentrating on the most widely used OS.
Is any this a reason not to buy an Android phone? Certainly not; surely now is the best time. The power of the platform and Android Market is a result of developers having a much greater control of their applications. The OS itself offers some more advanced capabilities (although less stable, in my opinion) than iOS, such as Adobe Flash compatibility, and there are few incidences of attacks to date. The mobile market in general is developing faster and reaching a broader user-base than ever before.
Are you an Android user? Pretty soon all this talk of mobile security will be far more commonplace. Just as when developing operating systems such as Windows 7, developers will hopefully concentrate more on mobile security and all will be well. Click here for a link about Android security you might be interested in.
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