Antivirus Experts Respond to Google: “We’re Not Scammers, Malware Threats Are Real”

by: Paul NuñalNovember 23, 2011
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Google’s Open Source Programs Manager Chris DiBona lashed out last week with pretty harsh words at antivirus companies who keep claiming that the Android platform has security flaws in every aspect.  DiBona called developers of antivirus solutions for Android “scammers and charlatans.”

“[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. IF you work for a company selling virus protection for android, rim or IOS you should be ashamed of yourself,” DiBona said on his Google+ page.

Antivirus experts, however, disagree with DiBona’s statement, pinpointing that malware threats have dramatically increased in numbers during this year. Denis Maslennikov, a senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Labs, told PCWorld, “Today malware for Android devices is one of the biggest issues in [the] mobile malware area.”

With Android not screening what applications gets published in the Android Market, the chances of malware-infected programs being released pose a serious threat to user security without users’ even knowing that they are already infected.

“The growth of numbers of malware for Android is significant in [the] last 5 months. In June we’ve discovered 112 modifications of Android malware, in July – 212; August – 161; 559 in September; 808 in October,” Malsennikov added.

The same results were also discovered by Trend Micro, which reported a 1,410 percent increase in Android malware threats starting from January to July of this year. Rik Ferguson, Trend Micro’s director of security research and communication said, “The more important figure is not the total number of malware, but the rate of increase of that malware quarter on quarter and year on year. That demonstrates current, active and sustained criminal interest in the mobile platform.”

Security experts have narrowed down the most common malware threats being circulated over the Android platform as consisting of Trojans and worms. If left unchecked, such malware can be as damaging as anyone could have anticipated.

“It depends on your definition of damaging. Is it recording and uploading voice conversations to a remote server, is it stealing email and text message histories, or is it running up huge bills through premium-rate text and voice scams? I guess it all depends on the point of view of the victim and the fallout of infection,” Ferguson added.

Even if security issues take a huge toll on the Android platform, malware threats are not the only one troubling Google’s mobile OS. Just like in using an ordinary computer, users are also being targeted for phishing activities, online scams, as well as hacked accounts.

Online security experts insist that even though Android is based on its openness, which allows installation of unknown apps and the freedom of uploading apps on the Android Market with less supervision, that same openness has contributed to the surge in malware threats for the platform.

What do you think?  Is Android an insecure and unsafe operating system?

  • Comment Reply

    Google can’t accept the fact that Android is a failure…why don’t they just fix their OS and stop lashing out anti-virus companies..

    • Matrix_Program

      With all due respect, this is complete and utter BULLSHIT!

      Myself and many others that actually own an android phone have NEVER had a single malware problem. And we all download plenty of apps from the marketplace. Maybe there are malwares on the marketplace. It’s possible. However, the number would be so small, so tiny that it would be way too rare to actually catch one when installing on your phone. (808 malwares / 325 000 apps in total = 0.2% infected).

      Oh by the way, i’ve installed plenty of pirate apps. Guess what? no malware. I guess i must be hallucinating.

      This whole thing has been blown to ridiculous proportions. I’m with Google on this one.

    • AppleFUD

      You sound like the typical iDiot apple fan. . . the cluelessness of some of you astonishes me. I get you might like iCrap but get a friggin clue!

      Not a single smartphone based on Linux has viruses jumping form phone to phone–it just DOES NOT HAPPEN.

      Second, if you have even a slight clue on Windows you can easily setup your computer to be virus proof without using any anti-virus software (see my other reply here).

      Your vitriol is the same crap apple has spewed for years about Mac Vs PC and it’s all complete and utter BS. Windows has an issue because IDIOTS set it up wrong and then go about doing stupid sh!t. Not because the platform itself is less secure than Mac. Yet. . . security researchers over the years have consistently demonstrated that it is apple products that are THE least secure.

      Now go take your stupid BS somewhere else where the readers are complete morons like yourself and will believe your FUD,

  • Dmwhittley

    I have installed over 500 apps, mainly free ones, on my SGSΙ the last year and visited more web sites through my phone than fr.m my laptop.
    I downloaded a trial free antivirus/malware to my phone, ran it and it detected nothing and i have no problems with my phone.
    What worries me is that now DiBona has pretty much thrown down the gauntlett we will start seeing this increase the antivirus companies are talking about.

  • gmshader

    A few years back antivirus companies such as Norton and McAfee were accused for cooperating with people from eastern European to produce viruses the companies stayed quiet and couple weeks later in the dame magazine PC world they continued on that subject by publishing comments of a Czech team admiting they participated in such projects , couple years later Sophia antivirus founder said that such kind of accusations are not baseless and.there are teams in Russia that also create viruses on request.This is all about survival of antivirus companies they need viruses to be created in order for them to sell the software . I personaly believe that both scammers and antivirus companies are to blame since both can be benefited from the outcom so ill I think they are 50%-50% to blame .mobile OS the way it evolves it can be a new very profitable ground for those 2 parties and they gonna try to cash out by using any means necessary.we are the victims either way .

    • AppleFUD

      I’ve always suspected these companies to be behind many of the virus and malware threats–especially those that aren’t direct scams to make someone money asap.

      First thing I do on a Win PC, remove all anti-virus utilities. They do nothing but slow the computer greatly. Then set the admin account password and set your user account up. After that, you really won’t have any issues. If you think you will, make a clean backup of your OS with Ghost and use Google Chrome Browser and better yet, use the portable version of it on a separate partition running as user NEVER admin. Finally, turn off auto-play features so someone that is an idiot and gets a virus won’t give it to you via a usb or disc.

      In Win7 Ultimate there are so many more ways to lock down the computer (AppLocker) that it’s insane to even consider a anti-virus program.

      HOWEVER. . . NEVER EVER pay for anti-virus software.

  • AppleFUD

    Any computing device can be hacked. The way to make it more difficult to get into by hackers is generally how you setup the OS & apps and then controlling the stupidity of the user–the latter is impossible to control.

    However, Google really does need to keep a better eye on the Android Market.

    Furthermore, when they say “Android” it really isn’t Android they are talking about. It’s the OEM versions of Android–the ones that are slow to get patches and updates. Anyone really running Android (the nexus line of handsets) won’t have an issue because they’ll get patches asap.

  • Lungzx85

    I think that 80% of the malware,virus and other bs you find on adroid apps a probally all caused and created by these virus protection companies, just like how nortan made their own string of viruses and got caught out. Fukwits. Anything for a profit.