Android Malware: Still a thing

So yesterday, I was reading an absolutely ridiculous article over at BusinessInsider wherein the author (Kevin Smith, but not that Kevin Smith) detailed his decision to switch to Android if the next iPhone didn’t have specific features. Never mind the fact that at this point, it’s too late for Apple to even consider his features and that he’s not important enough to warrant Apple seeking his approval. Hilariously, he referred to it as the iPhone 5, even though there’s no precedent to indicate Apple will even call it that. Maybe he’ll stay in limbo forever waiting for a phone to be released that doesn’t exist.

Anyway, while perusing the comments on the article, I came across this doozy from one @Julie2aT:

Please oh please tell me of one virus that Android has? Oh, you’re talking about malware for installing applications from un-trusted sources? Only fools would ever download applications from third parties (I’m talking outside of Play Store, Amazon, SliderME)… the nerve of some people.

I tried to respond in the comments, but BusinessInsider’s website appears to be broken (so, it’s not just their authors) and comments would never post from any browser on my Mac or even Internet Explorer on a PC. So, rather than give up, I’ve decided to post my reply here for your entertainment (and hopefully, so @Julie2aT can see it).


Actually, malware has been a problem with Google’s own marketplace for some time:

From March 2, 2011: Android Market Apps Hit With Malware
(more info on this one: The Mother Of All Android Malware Has Arrived: Stolen Apps Released To The Market That Root Your Phone, Steal Your Data, And Open Backdoor)

“Sure, but Google has already resolved that,” you say. “That was over a year ago. It’s not like it’s happened since.”

My mistake. I must have misunderstood this article several months later.

From June 13, 2011: Google pulls more malware from Android Market

“Well, yeah, but that’s still over a year ago,” you retort. “What about something from THIS year?”

Okay. From January 16, 2012: Fake Angry Birds Game spreading Malware from Android Market

“Ugh. Whatever. Google has obviously fixed the problem, if the last one you’ve got is from more than half-a-year ago.”

Sure. You’re probably right. Oh, wait…

From August 6, 2012: More Android malware sprouting up amidst 2012 Olympics

“Oh, please. That was a whole three days ago. Surely…”

I rest my case.

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  1. meh
    Posted August 11, 2012 at 7:34 am | Permalink


  2. fortunefaded17
    Posted August 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    There’s been multiple attacks on iOS as well. Why are you so worked up? It’s a operating system just like any other and subject to malware attacks. Late last year there was a huge PDF malware attack iOS. People I know were attacked when opening PDF files on their devices. Happens on any OS. Not as much on Apple’s OS’ because they’re not the leading in the market and why would a hacker waste their time if it’s not going to reach the greater majority? Some still take the time to do it anyhow. So, give it a rest. I’ve had PC and MacBook and Android. I’ve never had a malware attack on any of my devices. If you’re an idiot and open things that you have no business opening, usually that’s a malware. Big shiny button lets press it. My husband went through 2 tours in Iraq with his old beaten up Toshiba laptop without virus protection and it’s still running, a little dusty, and very old but it runs. Actually, the only device I’ve had a malware attack on was my MacBook Pro like 10 years ago and that wiped my hardrive. Again, inexperience and clicked on a pop-up. If you’re using common sense there’s no reason to suffer from any malware attacks, EVER.

  3. Zepfhyr
    Posted September 6, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I never said that there were never attacks on iOS. Nor did I say that iOS or Apple were impervious to malware. However, the argument that Apple devices are not targeted because they are a smaller market is flawed for two reasons: first, because the iPhone was the dominant smartphone presence for its first three years, before Android became popular and is still the largest single device in terms of market share; and second, most of today’s viruses seek financial gain more than notoriety and preying on a segment of the population that feels it is safe to enter any information into their computer without fear of it being accessed by a third-party is a much riper target than the market leader.

    That said, there have been three viruses on the Mac to-date: In 2006, there was Leap, which used iChat to spread from computer to computer (since patched to stop the issue). And in the past year, there have been two viruses that only affected Macs with Java installed and enabled as a web plugin. Apple stopped including Java by default last year with Mac OS X Lion, so only earlier Macs and those that installed Java were at risk. The latest virus only applies to users that have purposefully visited Oracle’s website and downloaded Java 7, as it is not available via Apple at this time.

    Now, back to the article at hand. I was specifically pointing out to an arrogant Android user that her argument about Android being safe from malware was wrong. Not once did I ever suggest that Macs or iOS devices were 100% secure. I simply drew attention to the flaws in her argument for the education of her and others. The point I was drawing was that Google’s system of letting any app into the Play Store and then only removing it after it is discovered to be dangerous is much worse than Apple’s “walled garden” that requires apps to be reviewed before becoming available. Personally, I wish that Apple would also allow side-loading of apps, as well, but the belief that all apps available through Google Play are safe is both dangerous and incorrect.

    Oh, and there have been a few apps that managed to slip Apple’s radar and find their way into the App Store despite having questionable or illicit motives. However, the number is significantly smaller due to the review process that rejects many of these apps from ever being available for download.

    Lastly, please do not feel that my opinions about Android or Google’s marketplace are in any way an attack on you or your preferences. You are welcome to use whatever you device you choose. I have issues, however, with people posting disingenuous and false information to further their own agenda. Use whatever device you choose based on the merits of how it best serves you. But don’t lie to others to convince them to use your preferred product.

    These are tech companies, not political parties.

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