One of the most often cited advantage of Google's mobile operating system Android is its open source nature. Like a double edged blade, this very open source nature of Android also serves as one of its major glaring drawbacks. Closed platform such as the iOS, Symbian and Windows Phone 7 are generally malware and virus-free but unfortunately, the same can't be said regarding Android. This is because basically anyone can write an app for Android and make it available on the Android Market, and that includes hackers and writers of malicious codes as well. So just how worse the malware situation in Android these days?
Well according to recently published report, thing are not looking good for Android, security wise. A report published by mobile security group Juniper Global Threat Center, indicates that the open source nature of Android paved the way for a staggering 472% increase in malware threats over the last few months. On their previous reports, Juniper found a 400% increase in the Android malware situation from year 2009 to summer 2010. And just when you think that's the worst of it, this latest report eclipsed that previous growth percentage easily.
In August this year, malware growth rate increased to 10%, 18% in September. And by October, the growth rate inflated to 110% and this month, malware detection grew to 111% and to think we have just barely passed halfway of November. Out of all the samples detected, about 55% of them are spywares while other attacks includes a form of SMS Trojans that secretly sends SMS text messages to premium numbers. According to recent numbers, Android is the leading platform in terms of market share gains. And because of this, Juniper believes that the platform's success has attracted the attention of malicious code writers that previously plagued Symbian and Windows Mobile.
The mobile security firm attributed the problem to Android's lack of code signing and review process. Anyone can easily setup a developer account anonymously which only requires an initial fee of $25. With no review process, no one is tasked to check if a certain posted application does what it says. All the Android users have to rely on is the description of the app included by the application developer.
No matter how you look at it, this doesn't look too good for Android. Apple's iOS typically gets the flak for being such a closed platform but it should be safe to assume that its closed nature is what saves it from malware and all sorts of malicious content. So for Android users, always keep your eyes peeled regarding the apps you install on your devices. Before installing an app, it would undoubtedly help if you perform some precautionary measures first such as reading the comments, checking the app's rating, reviewing the permissions and evaluating the developer's website. And if you haven't done so yet, we recommend that you install a mobile security suite like Lookout Mobile Security, it is quite low-profile and best of all free. [via AppleInsider]