Android radiation

And ... here we go. An analyst at Kaspersky Lab Americas says Android likely face a spate of attacks in 2010. Roel Schouwenberg, whose company coincidentally sells computer security tools, told USA Today [full story here] that "the first malicious programs for these mobile platforms appeared in 2009, a sure sign that they have aroused the interest of cybercriminals."

M'kay. Hard to argue with that logic. But wait. There's more.

'Android users, in particular, seem ripe for plundering. "The increasing popularity of mobile phones running the Android operating system, combined with a lack of effective checks to ensure third-party software applications are secure, will lead to a number of high-profile malware outbreaks," he says.

OK, let's make sure we've got this straight:

  1. If "cybercriminals" attack something, it's a sign they're interested in it.
  2. Because Android is growing in popularity, it ensures high-profile attacks.

Is it just us, or does it sound like Mr. Schouwenberg's up to something? But in all seriousness, let's worry about what it is we need to worry about. The odds of "hackers" (you know, those guys in black hats) hijacking your phone aren't that great. An occasional malicious application is a threat on any platform. But do you see iPhones -- which number in the millions and have had more than 1 billion application downloads -- droppingi dead? While the Android Market doesn't quite have the same checks and balances of Apple's App store or even Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile, it does have 16,000 official applications and widgets in it thus far (and some are estimating 150,000 this time next year, and there are plenty of apps available outside of the Market.

Me? I'm more worried about leaving my phone in a cab.


Reader comments

Analyst predicts 2010 will be the year Android is attacked


Windows Mobile has been open for years. Even at the peak of its popularity, it didn't have any high profile viruses.

Android market may not have the stringent requirements of Apple, but the platform does have the tools to instantly watch any 'rouge' application and see *exactly* what it's doing.

This is garbage. You can install any app you like from wherever you like on any Blackberry unless it's locked down by Corp. policy which consequently NONE of the end user phones (ie. BIS phones) are locked. This is also true with Symbian based phones and WinMO phones .. just because Apple locks theirs down to the point of the ridiculous does NOT mean the iPhone is safe or that these other OS's are going to become mobile virus carriers.

These people talk this trash ALL the time so they can sell their AV wares .. and I'd bet that 8 out of 10 of these trojans and virus programs are created BY the AV companies so they can sell their wares.


OK, while I usually just laugh my ass off at these purported security guys hailing the end of the free world every time they start worrying about where their next check is coming from, I have to say that there are a few things wrong with your argument:

First of all you said, "But do you see iPhones -- which number in the millions and have had more than 1 billion application downloads -- dropping dead?"
Well, not actually dropping dead but yes, the iPhone has been attacked. And it was exploited because of the large hacking community surrounding "Jail Broken" phones. Apple has taken great flack from people who say that their tyrannical rule has hurt the development of the iPhone when in fact, they have taken great pains to protect you from just this sort of thing. Normal iPhones don't get attacked because Apple doesn't let just anyone poke around in the OS. Unlike Google. If anything, the fact that Android of open source has more potential to hurt you in the end.

second, because the Android App situation is so completely open, it can more easily give rise to malware because there are "Other" ways to get software onto your phone. That part is pretty obvious. Because there is only one way to get software onto an iPhone via Apples ridiculous approval, is a much more safe environment. Albeit an annoyance to developers.

The one thing Google has going for it is that in order to develop Apps for Android, you have to write them in Java and these programs can only exist in their own little environment and can't really attack the system from there without you helping it in some way. So, until someone figures out how to get around that, you're probably safe for now. However, this doesn't stop you from loading a malicious program onto your phone, thinking its a safe one and launching it yourself. I'm kind of surprised that hasn't happened yet. I can totally envision some kid desperately trying to load some porn App onto his rooted G1 only to find it dump his contacts to some web site in china and lock him out. ;)

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