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About Android and Viruses..

Google Play distributes malware?

Recent investigation revealed that Google play might be distributing apps which are infected with malware. Jill Knesek, IT expert working for British Telecom, claimed that one third of the software available in the Google play is malware disguised as legitimate programs. This statement was made at the NetEvents Americas, when Knesek presented the results of the investigation. During the previously mentioned research,  1,000 applications were analyzed. But these results are suspicious to other security experts. Moreover, currently Knesek himself refuses to speak about the investigation and no official report concerning the investigation has been released.

According to Chris DiBona, who works in Google Open Source Programs department, all allegations concerning application safety are false. Moreover, DiBona claims that security companies present the Google play software, and applications for smartphones distributed by other companies, as unsafe for a reason. They use these tactics to frighten the users, thus increasing the sales of security software. In a statement released by DiBona,  he described the companies who develop antivirus programs for Android, iOS and RIM as frauds and scammers.

However, DiBona was talking about the ‘traditional’ viruses which infect the PCs. The mobile platforms are developed in a different way, so they are not exposed to the same danger as the computers.  Nevertheless, there are applications created for smartphones which act as malware, but they need a different kind of approach, not the one which is promoted by security companies. That’s why DiBona claim that they are scammers.

Features of Android Malware

Usually, the goal of the Android malware is stealing your private data. Nevertheless, currently the most dangerous malware send SMS messages to premium rate numbers, once the smartphone is infected. Fortunately, the malware designed for smartphones is spread differently, than the one developed for computers. While the computer can be infected without your knowledge, in order to infect a smartphone you have to “invite” the malware. As a result, being aware is all it takes to avoid the unwanted programs for the latter device, and no security software is needed.

Unfortunately, keeping your Android malware free is not that easy as it might seem. Recent years saw the improvement of tactics used by virus developers. Currently they are using software which is disguised as legitimate programs or applications which download malware to the smartphone when they are updated.

Derek Halliday confirmed that premium SMS scams are the most dangerous to all smartphone users. He explained that SMS scams are quite simple to set-up but are very profitable. Nevertheless, new dangerous software is developed every day so the users should be always alerted. The fact that our smartphones contain so much important data means it should be taken with extra care. Using the phone irresponsibly is the same as leaving your wallet or a notebook, with all your contact information, bank account numbers and so on, unattended. All in all, users should not avoid using all the features their smartphone is providing. In order to keep the phone clean, they just have to do some research, before installing unknown software.

Users should have in mind that “traditional” antivirus software is useless for smartphones, but installing other security programs might be useful. For example, a lot of Android security apps have anti-theft, backup and antivirus features which might protect your phone from malware. Nevertheless, in the upcoming years the situation might change and the antivirus program may become an essential part of the android software, but for now the best solution against viruses is user awareness.

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