Nov 22nd, 2011

I always cringe when I see companies selling Android Anti-Virus software. But when my RSS reader fills up with stories about percentage increases of mobile malware and how consumers NEED protect themselves immediately? I consider snapping my phone in half for two main reasons:

  • The best protection is being a smart consumer. Download apps/products from companies you know. If you don’t know them, do your research: take note of their rating, read the customer reviews, see what permissions they require, and ensure yourself that the app is safe to use before downloading.
  • We’re so used to malware, trojans, and computer viruses that these software makers are extending the fear to mobile, making a quick buck by preying on the fears of the uninformed.

An Information Week article by Eric Zeman exposes the annoying and outrageous claims of these anti-malware makers, but more interestingly, it includes the take of some disturbed Googlers. Here is a comment from Google’s open-source guru, Chris DiBona:

“Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and IOS,” he wrote 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.”

Although there HAVE been some issues with banking apps and spam apps in the past, they have usually been obvious ploy and traps into which the uncareful consumer falls. If an app helps you identify which apps/games are potentially harmful in addition to using your own tuition… is it worth it? I think so. But maybe tweak the name and stop pumping out white papers about how mobile malware is on the rise so you can sell more mobile anti-virus software.

What’s your take on the Android Virus Protection issue? And mobile anti-virus in general?

[Via @TimBray]