A common and over-used criticism of Android is malware. People love to point to malware as a reason why Android is unsecure and shouldn’t be used. Of course, the malware problem that people love to talk about is not much of a problem at all. Google made that clear with their latest Android Security State of the Union address.
Google published a very lengthy 44-page report that you can read right here, but there are a few bullet points of importance.
- Over 1 billion devices are protected with Google Play which conducts 200 million security scans of devices per day.
- Fewer than 1% of Android devices had a Potentially Harmful App (PHA) installed in 2014. Fewer than 0.15% of devices that only install from Google Play had a PHA installed.
- The overall worldwide rate of Potentially Harmful Application (PHA) installs decreased by nearly 50% between Q1 and Q4 2014.
- SafetyNet checks over 400 million connections per day for potential SSL issues.
- Android and Android partners responded to 79 externally reported security issues, and over 25,000 applications in Google Play were updated following security notifications from Google Play.
As you can see, Android malware is an exaggerated issue. Fewer than 1% of a billion devices had potentially harmful apps installed. In devices that only install apps from the Play Store than number drops to 0.15%. The moral of the story is the same that has been said for years, and it can be said for users on any platform: if you install trusted apps from trusted sources you will have no issues. It’s only when you start downloading from sketchy places that you will run into problems.