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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

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posted on 18 Nov 2011, 08:55 5

3. remixfa (Posts: 14605; 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: 14605; 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.


posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:52 3

12. remixfa (Posts: 14605; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)

gawd.. too soon.. too soon!!

posted on 18 Nov 2011, 09:39 4

9. remixfa (Posts: 14605; 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: 1476; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)

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: 14605; 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: 14605; 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: 144; 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: 14605; 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: 14605; 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: 7305; 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: 839; 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: 5993; 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: 6330; 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: 2458; 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.

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