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  • Google software guru says Android, RIM and iOS anti-virus app makers are “charlatans and scammers”

Google software guru says Android, RIM and iOS anti-virus app makers are “charlatans and scammers”

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Google software guru says Android, RIM and iOS anti-virus app makers are “charlatans and scammers”
Here's an interesting suggestion – there's no real malware on Android and all those reports we've been seeing in the last months/years are all a scam. That's the position of Google's open-source software guru Chris DiBona, and what he meant is not that there are no threats whatsoever, but that the sandboxing model on mobile platforms prevents viruses from being as dangerous as traditional Windows malware. Moreover, companies making the so called anti-virus solutions for Android have been exploiting you, the user:

"Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you BS protection software for Android, RIM, and, iOS," DiBona posted on Google+. "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."

Now, DiBona saved the names of companies for himself, but we can name a few: Symantec with its Norton Mobile Security, McAfee with the Mobile Security apps, F-Secure and Kaspersky.

"No major cell phone has a 'virus' problem in the traditional sense that Windows and some Mac machines have seen," DiBona added. "There have been some little things, but they haven't gotten very far due to the user sandboxing models and the nature of the underlying kernels."

What exactly is sandboxing and why does it make mobile phones more secure than computers? It's all about the access that's granted and in the case of mobile phones it's limited to only certain areas of the memory, so it's very hard to break that wall.

Android and the Market in particular has been infested with viruses hidden in apps, but Google has usually swiftly removed them. It's precaution that usually works best – downloading adult content or apps from unchecked sources is where most of the threats seem to stem from. So generally, it seems that users shouldn't be worried that much about smartphone viruses, but what's your opinion on the matter? Do you think malware is really an issue in Android?

source: Chris DiBona via CNET


82 Comments
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posted on 18 Nov 2011, 08:55 5

3. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


been saying that all along. :) 0.00005% is not a big issue. it just makes for perty headlines and article hits.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 08:59 4

4. arcq12 (Posts: 733; Member since: 13 Oct 2011)


they didnt hear it, they've read it...

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:17 4

5. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


chalk one up for effective come backs. :) i giggled. Sorry ilia. :)

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:19 4

6. ilia1986 (unregistered)


Ha isn't that funny? My post was moderated because apparently it violates the following criteria:

"Things that are NOT allowed:

Off-topic talk - you must stick to the subject of discussion
Trolling - see a description
Flame wars
Offensive, hate speech - if you want to say something, say it politely
Spam/Advertisements - these posts are deleted
Multiple accounts - one person can have only one account
Impersonations and offensive nicknames - these accounts get banned"

That causes me to question - how come taco50 is still here? How come every single post of his isn't moderated? Because it damn well should be, according to the above list.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:28 3

7. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


I don't understand either.

Oh well, i'm over it to be honest. I just wont reply to him anymore, as remix mentioned in another thread if we just ignore him entirely he will probably go away.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:35 4

8. ilia1986 (unregistered)


An excellent suggestion. I think that he was multi-touched by a pedophile when he was young. That might explain his behavior.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:51 3

11. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Maybe he played football at Penn State.


ZING

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:52 3

12. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


gawd.. too soon.. too soon!!

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:39 4

9. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


you got taco trolling every thread looking to start fights.. especially with me. you got ardent going out of his way to be personally insulting when no one is slinging insults at him all without moderation.... but you got moderated for saying iDiot as a general term.

Yup.. seems fair. :(

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:55 5

14. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


When taco mentioned in another thread that he brings "hits" to the site it got me thinking...

Remember those AIM bots back in the day? You could say "do you want to go to dinner" and it would give you some witty remark back?

Maybe PhoneArena has a tacobot. Any article with the word "Android" or "iPhone" in it the bot just picks random comments and then starts typing gibberish.

Honestly, it's the best explanation I can come up with for tacos comments...

posted on 20 Nov 2011, 21:00

81. BattleBrat (Posts: 1147; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)


ROFL!!!
Android malware did have me scared, but I stick to several major Apps that are also available on iOS and I stick to major games, so I follow security suggestions and generally I've been great

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 08:54 9

2. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


chalk yet another one up for me. thanks buddy. :)

i tell people not to install that junk all the time. the only thing your likey to get, is a resource hog. even Android's "huge" issue only equated to 0.00005% of users at the last article, and that was mostly users in asia.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:02 3

21. godsarmylds (Posts: 36; Member since: 05 Mar 2010)


remixfa... You work for t-mobile?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:09 3

23. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


that I do.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:29 2

29. LewsTherin006 (Posts: 140; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)


hey i work for tmobile too! what store do you work at? i work at 6850.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:20 8

25. BigRed83 (Posts: 142; Member since: 19 May 2008)


I told my customers the same thing; if you play outside of the sandbox, you may get hurt. Yes, I thought of them as children, it was easier that way.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:38

32. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Where are you getting this percentage from?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:39 5

44. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


the last article that was on PA talking about that "huge rise" in pirated apps. It gave a number for the amount of users that had downloaded those evil apps. That number divided by the current android sales at the time = 0.00005%. I did the math clearly on the article and have been touting that bit of proof ever since, every time one of u uses that same stupid "android malware" line.

And since android sells about 16.5 million sets a month (and that was like 4-6 months ago), that number is probably a lot smaller now.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:44

45. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


So you're now using the sniggly strategy of cooking up your own numbers?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:14 9

50. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


its amazing, i even spelled out how i came to that number, and u still cant read.

i used the numbers FROM THE ARTICLE that were plain as day,even for you.. OMG. do you EVER stop acting like a brainless troll? You have got to be smarter than this.. ugh.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:47 1

60. Jobes (Posts: 364; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


Trolls don't have brains... only search engines.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:41 8

10. PimpStrong (Posts: 310; Member since: 25 Jul 2011)


16 months with Android and I have no idea what a virus even looks like. Had some crappy apps but no bugs.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:53 3

13. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Agreed. I've been with Android since the D1 and the closest thing i've ever had to a virus was a bug on a custom ROM that forced my phone to keep going to Google.com and searching for "XXXX ROM IS THE BEST ROM EVER"

Turns out it was some script the dev had put in there as a joke for a friend of his or something but forgot to remove it...

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:58 11

15. Sniggly (Posts: 7177; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


This is what I've been saying all along. In fact, I would wager that the anti virus guys are responsible for some of the viruses and malware out there. I understand that viruses and malware suck, and they exist, but they're not the problem they're made out to be. Especially not by iFanboys.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:31

55. Stuntman (Posts: 754; Member since: 01 Aug 2011)


I have checked out some anti-virus software on the Android Market. Some of the users comments about one of these apps say that the app itself is malware.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 10:05 3

16. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5921; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)


The biggest exposure for smartphones is more on the order of Trojans that grab whatever sensitive data is either stored or captured (key logging, anyone?). Hopefully, apps like Lookout that supposedly log malware and related sites will fill the gap. But technically, the traditional risk of the handset being bricked by a virus is less due to the sand boxing. I wonder if Apple will sue over sand boxing? If they do sue, I imagine Larry might have something to say about that seeing as Oracle now owns Sun and the Java patents.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 10:10 7

17. networkdood (Posts: 6310; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


APPLE must have started the rumors...lol.
Yep, I have had trojans on my old XP PC , never had an issue on my ANDROID phone...come to think of it, I never even had a virus, trojan, or any malware on my TILT I, either.

The biggest scammers are online - doublemyspeed.com - and ones like that - they install software that creates a backdoor on your PC that does let the 'trash' in.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 10:28 2

18. corporateJP (Posts: 1760; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


He's got a great point, but nothing (nothing) is absolutely safe.

I will tell you AVG on one of my Androids caught an email and quaranteened it because of the way it was worded. It was from a friend, explaining a potential Trojan threat involving our workplace, and it used the names and files it was hunting for. Apparently, the words together alone set off the alarm for AVG. I was rather impressed by that.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 10:30 1

19. faisal8708 (Posts: 104; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


Yea the problem is not so big thats why he had to refute it hahahaha

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 10:36 3

20. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Man you are smart. Why didn't I think of that... if he's saying it isn't true IT MUST BE TRUE.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:12 4

24. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


who knows, maybe he reads phone boards and got tired of iTrolls constantly spreading false information, and therefore wanted to set the record straight.

if it was a top apple programmer saying the same thing about apple would you doubt it? if not, then your just trolling.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:31

30. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Umm it's not itrolls. There's a report about malware on android every other week it seems.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:40

34. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Remix Faisal posted an article from November 15th showing an explosion in malware on android.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:45 4

46. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yea, 400% explosion, i saw it.

it doesnt change the actual number much. even if android didnt have a single sale between the previous article and this one 0.00005% X 400% = 0.0002% of android users have been affected by it.

Now when you factor in that 16.5million activations a month (550k activations a day X 30 days), it probably drops it right back down to that original 0.00005% number.. maybe a lil higher, maybe a little lower

point is 400% makes for great headlines but not an honest look at the whole picture.

The whole picture? Android is secure. And the bulk of that malware exists in asian languages like chinese and it mostly affects asian countries.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:05

48. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


You don't even understand why you're math is totally wrong do you?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:16 5

51. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


instead of trolling, tell us why, oh professor taco.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:30

54. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Have you considered that not every single android activated is still active today?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:03 2

57. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


so, in the last couple of months you think there were more android phones deacted than activated? you think the net total of android phones is LESS than it was before? That would mean that MORE THAN 16.5 million phones are deactivated every month for that to even hold water.... even though Android is up 100 million sales for the year so far.

ARE YOU SERIOUS???!??!?!?!?!

no.. you cant possibly be that brainless... can you?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:07 1

59. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Your math counts only activations and doesn't count deactivations. According to you every new esn is an activation. That means all warranty and insurance replacements are activations.

Then there's all the people switching from one android to another or going with the iPhone.


Your math is totally flawed and you have no basis to quote a specific percentage.

A reasonable comment would be I believe affected users are a small amount.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:50 3

61. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


Are you really educating remix on how to make a "reasonable comment"?

The post you just made (which i'm replying to) is the closest thing to a "reasonable comment" i've ever seen you write.

Regardless, i'm giving you thumbs up.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:52 2

62. Jobes (Posts: 364; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


Even if you put in deactivations the number is stilllllllllllll far far far... far.. far... faaaar far... btw far. Below 1 percent.. just saying :)

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 16:35 4

67. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


taco,
an ESN can only be activated once

Warranty phones are USED phones, their ESNs have already been activated, and thus DO NOT COUNT again.
What do you think they do with the phone when someone returns it under the trial period? lol.

if someone buys an iphone4 and then buys an iphone4s down the line, it still counts as a new iphone sold. if someone buys an android and then upgrades down the line, it still counts as a new android sold.

i fail to see where you have a valid point in all of this, other than just trying to be aggravating.

you lack the logic to come up with a decent rebuttal.. good lord.

taco, that is exactly what my original comment was.. lol unless 0.00005% turned into a large number and no one informed me.


A reasonable response to my original arguement would be "since you explained your math, and it was math that was pulled directly from the original article, then it might be true"... not one thing you have said in rebuttal has a basis in reality.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 16:46

70. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


The valid point is that upgrading from one android to another doesn't increase the user base. Your math is percentage of the user base right? Also in the several years android has been in use a lot of these phones are no longer in use.


You're counting activations but not counting deactivations. Your math is flawed.


That would be like AT&T quarterly reports where they count their suvpbscribers by add only and not considering deactivations.


You pulled this number out your ass as usual.

Why can't you understand that deactivations have to be counted now that I pointed it out?

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 23:50 2

73. networkdood (Posts: 6310; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Actually, they report net gain....do you know what the term 'net' means, as opposed to 'gross?'

Yeah, I thought so :-)

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:09 3

22. Owlet (Posts: 446; Member since: 21 Feb 2011)


I've spent awhile with Android, but I never felt that I needed an anti virus app. I can't imagine me having a virus on the cell phone. And I do think that what DiBona said aboutanti virus companies is true.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:22 2

26. BigRed83 (Posts: 142; Member since: 19 May 2008)


The only "viruses" I saw with any regularity was on dumbphones from forwarded text messages, that replicated themselves, then cleaned out and crashed the phone. Never on a smartphone. The only security problem was cloning on old Treos, which was Palm's issue back then.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 11:27 2

27. twashington4 (Posts: 81; Member since: 24 May 2010)


Yeah, I learned my lesson with crappy apps, but never had a virus. I tried lookout antivirus once, but it does hog up resources from time to time...at least that was my experience. I uninstalled and haven't had any virus issues to speak of at all.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:26

28. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I agree the virus apps are scams. However android definitely has a malware problem. It's called market place.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:31 4

31. LewsTherin006 (Posts: 140; Member since: 18 Nov 2011)


yes, because every app in the market (not marketplace, thats winphone7) is a virus. 0_0

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 12:39

33. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Never said every app, but it's definitely infested with them. That's what happens when there's no approval process.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:06 7

36. jdcxxx (Posts: 15; Member since: 14 Nov 2011)


Remember the guy who posted an app with malicious software to prove that there are flaws with the ios security.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:15

40. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


Please stay on topic. We're discussing android.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:21 5

42. iamcc (Posts: 1319; Member since: 07 Oct 2011)


taco you crack me up.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 13:46 6

47. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


something tells me taco got another warning letter.. lol.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:06

49. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


I'm warning him. I've applied to be a PA moderator.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:16 5

52. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


bahahahahahahah

you mean you applied to be permanently moderated. lol

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 14:20 2

53. taco50 (banned) (Posts: 5506; Member since: 08 Oct 2009)


You're buddy ilia has been moderated on this article for his offensive comments.


I'm staying on topic and using logic and facts which is like krypton to android fanboys.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:05 3

58. remixfa (Posts: 14060; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


taco, you get moderated at least once on probably 60-70% of all articles you have posted on. And your worried about illia's rare moderation?

get a grip.

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 15:55 2

64. Jobes (Posts: 364; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


Krypton is the planet.. gahhh google is your friend taco :)

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 23:52 2

74. networkdood (Posts: 6310; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


Are you delirious? Months ago, there was warning of SMS being passed around iphones exploiting a security flaw:

http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/28/hackers-iphone-apple-technology-security-hackers.html

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