Saturday, February 4, 2012

Symantec Android

A bug by the name of Android.Counterclank has infected between 1 million and 5 million Android users as of this afternoon.

This incident points out the problem of having a decentralized distribution system. In other words, anyone can disseminate Android applications anywhere--including virus writers. Without a middleman to ensure consumers can trust the applications being downloaded, expect these type of incidents to grow and continue. In March 2011, IDC predicted that “Android is poised to take over as the leading Smartphone operating system in 2011 after racing into the number 2 position in 2010.” Not surprisingly, hackers follow consumers.

By contrast, Apple's centralized iTunes model is proving more secure. Certainly, there have been incidents, like this iTunes hack, but they aren't commonplace. Both BlackBerry and Microsoft adhere to a centralized model as well.

Google may need to rethink their distribution model for apps for two reasons:

If Android users are forced to install AV while their Apple, Microsoft and BlackBerry friends are just paying for games, it will make for quite a market contrast.
If enterprise users experience problems, IT departments may decide to walk away from Android.

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