Big Surprise: Anti-Virus Maker Sophos Says Android is More Vulnerable to Malware Attacks


Malware attacks are going to increase for Android, and they are coming through Facebook. That’s what anti-virus maker and internet security firm Sophos has to say, anyway. Look, we don’t want to say that smartphones and mobile platforms are invulnerable to viruses and compromising hacks, but seeing this story pop up around the blogosphere made me chuckle just a bit. It sounds like someone is trying to drum up some fear to push their own agenda. Viruses for Android are going to get worse: buy our products.

Maybe they are just being good citizens. After all, they do state that these new attacks will come in the form of malicious Facebook messages. That’s easy enough to avoid, just like most other malware attacks on Android. Don’t open the messages, don’t accept bogus permissions, don’t download sketchy apps to your phone. We want all Android users to be responsible and safe to protect their personal data, but at some point we need to step back and realize the OS is really quite secure. Don’t believe the hype, please.

[via AndroidCommunity]

Kevin Krause
Pretty soon you'll know a lot about Kevin because his biography will actually be filled in!

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  1. Surprise! lol

  2. It’s all hype. Most people I know of are very cautious of strange things. I really find it hard to believe that hackers are concerned about Android. I’m sure they have bigger fish to fry.

  3. Whilst what you say is probably true, the inverse is true, too – *obviously* you guys will say it’s secure; You run an Android fan website, you have a vested interest in the success of Android and thus it’s against your own best interests to run stories about how vulnerable Android is.

    The sensible suggestion is probably some way between. In other words, “Don’t believe the hype.”

  4. How much is there app in the market?

  5. another mobile for 4G…

  6. Regardless of who has what agenda to press to the public, just use common sense and also know your phone’s capabilities (i.e. you don’t need an app killer as Android has memory/resource management to handle that).

  7. With the mess that is android app distribution – this should come as no surprise. Look, you have a main marketplace where there are NO restrictions. Anyone can add an app. Then you have the fact most carriers are coming out with their own more restricted marketplaces. So you’ll have multiple attack vectors for trying to get your malware onto an unsuspecting users phone. The idea you can just avoid the malware is laughable. Most times the bad stuff is piggy backed onto something popular. It’s not gonna be labeled “Malware App v1.0”. I think it’s time for Google to copy apples app store procedures. Either that or they can become the windows of smartphone OS.

  8. Let’s not forget that all malware are not viruses.

    Viruses self propagate. Most if not all of the malware discovered for Android, are not viruses. There’s really little to see here at the moment. It’s still much more secure than desktop platforms.

    Malware is going to exist on every platform that allows you to install apps. iPhone has a bit of a barrier in there by forcing you to go through the app store for the most part. But we’ve seen apps get through with hidden “features” anyway.

  9. Truthiness…I have to strongly disagee with you. The Android market is in NO way a mess, its OPEN SOURCE! WE want anyone to be able to create an app and place it in our market place, then we get the choice to download or not. Yes, if all you download are Hot Chinese girl picture apps then you will probably catch some type of problem but if youre a smart Android user you know what youre doing and you know what you need on your phone. THERE ARE NO VIRUSES IN ANDROID so suck it APPLE

  10. As in the pc world, we all know malware, viruses and the like were created by Steve Jobs and his turtleneck team to get people to convert to Apple. We know how that backfired on him, just as this will. As long as you use some common sense you’ll be ok. I don’t use Facebook because I think it’s a big waste of time, and after reading months ago how the top 10 apps on Facebook use your personal infomation, this story just makes me even more proud to not be a part of the whole Facebook world.
    When it comes to Android smartphones and viruses/malware and the like, while it’s not a huge issue right now, that’s only because it’s still in it’s infancy. Don’t be naive in thinking it won’t soon progress to the levels we see in the pc world.

  11. I completely agree with Kevin K. here. There seems to be a trend unfolding recently were other companies are trying to almost bad mouth Android with fictitious articles no one can respond to or defend against. Its realy childish. You can always tell the Apple collaborators by their extensive knowledge of the Apple world and their lack of knowledge of Android devices and capabilities.
    No matter what they say Androids here to stay and your not stopping this freight train anytime soon!

  12. Why all the hating? I love viruses!

  13. When people get it through their heads that there is no such thing as a perfectly secure system, no one will be afraid and they will actually realize they need to be careful about what they do and not expect the OS developers, App developers and Anti-virus developers to cover their butts every time they download something bad.

  14. The best way to support the android platform is by being vigil. By accepting that due to the very nature of android it is more open to attacks we can all help create a safer platform. You can still be a fanboy and say android is more open to attacks by malware.

  15. Obviously Android is going to be more susceptible to trojans and viruses – 50% of the android installs are massively out of date. Do the math.

  16. I trust Sophos to protect a PC or Android as much as I trust a politician is telling the truth

  17. Honestly, any mobile platform is vulnerable to some degree.

    For Android, we have permissions screens, but — especially for updates — I’ve seen that people often ignore them. They get trained to just click ‘Ok’ as with the Vista ‘Cancel or Allow’ dialogs; after they see it enough times, many users stop reading the content and just click the button to make the dialog go away.

    iOS sandboxes things, and then offloads the process of ‘check if this is bad’ to the App Store gatekeepers. This has strengths and weaknesses; they’re more likely to spot bad stuff than Average Non-Techy User is (especially given ANTU probably isn’t reading the permissions screens anyway in the Android Market), but they’re arguably less likely than Tech-Saavy User (who does read the Market permissions) is to spot bad stuff. This is true through sheer volume, if nothing else; Tech-Saavy User is only reviewing permissions for their individual app downloads, while App Store Gatekeeper is reviewing behaviors of, well, EVERY APP EVER IN THE WORLD.

    People who aren’t tech saavy are… well, sometimes their decisions bewilder us. It took me years to train my dad not to just click on everything that showed up in his e-mail. And because he was on dialup at the time, so never let the antivirus do updates, his Windows box had the digital equivalent of bubonic plague when I finally killed it. People who take that approach are MUCH more likely to be caught by blatantly malware programs on Android than on iOS (simply because they’re often doing no gatekeeping of installed apps, just clicking ‘Ok’ on everything, while iOS folks have the App Store as a gatekeeper).

    On the other hand, I’d argue that if you take two tech-saavy users, an Android user is going to be better able to defend their phone against malware in the market. An iOS user doesn’t have access to code analysis or permissions lists, so if something slips by the App Store folks, even a tech-saavy iOS user is sort of left in-the-dark about what the program’s doing when they install it.

  18. In other news, the National Donut Bakers Association warned that people are expected to be hungry tomorrow morning.

  19. Also, please, Phandroid, for the love of Andy… enable the ability to add blank lines to comments. Having all the paragraphs of a lengthy reply smooshed together is annoying, plus it makes them difficult to read. And if the site is difficult to read, you make the green robot cry!

  20. Android is far more insecure than iOS by design, though not necessarily because of its open source nature and is already suffering the fallout despite having half the installed base worldwide.

    The proof is in the pudding. It is Android and the Android Marketplace that have suffered multiple malware outbreaks such as:

    – 50 Android mobile banking apps in the Android Marketplace each targeted at a specific financial institution whose true purpose was phishing and identity theft.
    – wallpaper app that was downloaded 4 million times which forwarded user details to China.
    – Geinimi botnet app infecting numerous Android apps
    – Trojan-SMS.AndroidOS.FakePlayer.a, the Russian “Movie player” app that sent premium SMS texts from unsuspecting users
    – Brand new HTC Magic phones infected with the Mariposa botnet and Conficker and a Lineage password-stealing Trojan that attempt to infect Windows PCs.
    – Mobile Spy and Mobile Stealth
    – SMS Message Spy Pro and SMS Message Spy Lite spyware apps
    – 45,000 spam apps clogging up the Android Marketplace (as noted by Appbrain)

    In contrast, despite hosting over a third of a million apps and 7 billion downloads, there have been Zero pieces of malware thru the iOS App Store. A 100% safety record. Not bad, and good reassurance for a public tired of virus-riddled PCs.

    Then of course there is the side-loading of apps with absolutely any nasty thing being possible in Android and no review of apps at all in the Marketplace and we are talking a completely different level of insecurity and exposure.


  21. So just come out say it. Do androids need to have a anti virues protection? YES OR NO

  22. Well animal farmers saying it’s not healthy to eat vegetables only, esoteric sites stirring up that the usage of cellphones are dangerous, and anti-virus software devs urging you that you need to protect your phone, because it’s vulnerable. Here we go.

  23. Thats like mcdonalds saying everyone will need to buy CHEESE BURGER.
    Man you guys are niave

  24. Let’s think about this in a whole different light…
    If iOS and Android were prostitues, you would still go to either one of them because you can’t get your app/ss* any other way. Now iOS is obviously more expensive but it definitely has a better pimp that keeps her clean. And it’s still pretty sexy to get caught with that little apple symbol. However Android is new to the game. Dig through the virus infested double-baggers and you can find some premium app/ss*
    A smartphone doesn’t replace your brain. Don’t distrust Android… just look a little deeper at what you put in your device. It’s just kind of sad that the only people who read this are the ones smart enough to do some damn homework while all the zombies cater to the destuction of open source.

  25. No sh*t, the best operating systems are always the preferred target, for obvious reasons.

  26. Um Guys! YOUR WERE DEAD WRONG! Android Marketplace just got INFECTED with 58 apps (known so far) that imitated popular apps in the marketplace that in turn infected more than a quarter of a million Android users in the U.S.! I just got an email from Google that my phone was one of them and that Google remote wiped the offending ap. They SAY none of my personal information was “probably” compromised, but their wording leaves a lot up in the air! I have always been anti all things Apple, but I am seriously looking at the Verizon iPhone at this point. They’re apps are more secure. We all know it.

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