Chris DiBona made a very interesting post on Google+ this week. In the post he says that none of the major OS versions have any serious virus problems. A good point that he makes is that a virus—by definition—is a piece of malware that spreads itself from one device to the next without user input.
What he does say is that there are some applications available on the Android Market—along with probably all of the other markets—that don’t operate exactly how the developer says that they will. Instead they take advantage of loopholes, but they still require a user to install them. In that way they are actually acting like a Trojan.
“All the major vendors have app markets, and all the major vendors have apps that do bad things, are discovered, and are dropped from the markets.
No major cell phone has a ‘virus’ problem in the traditional sense that windows and some mac machines have seen. There have been some little things, but they haven’t gotten very far due to the user sandboxing models and the nature of the underlying kernels.”
“Yes, virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you [bad] protection software for Android, RIM and IOS. They are charlatans and scammers.”
Those are strong words, but I can’t say that I disagree with them. I can handle a few, or even a lot of apps that misbehave. Just uninstall them, and you’re golden. So there is no need to panic in the streets, at least not yet. And there is certainly no need to start comparing Android’s security to that of Windows XP, as some have started doing recently.