Feeds

Android apps: Shifty little bleeders

Bit malwarey here and there

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A fifth of Android applications aren't playing fair, according to SMobile Systems which reckons that mobile application marketplaces are rife with malware.

SMobile ran though more than 48,000 applications on the Android Marketplace (about three quarters of the whole marketplace) collecting details of the permissions the applications requested – Android applications have to list resources required – and SMobile bases is analysis (pdf) on those requests.

The more perceptive reader will have noticed a flaw in such an analysis – it might be true that 20 per cent of Marketplace applications request access to personal information, but if those applications are social-networking-integration apps then they're going to need access to that data.

Similarly, five per cent apparently request access to the phone dialler, which SMobile points out can be used "to place a call to any number without interaction or authority from the user": but if those applications are shell replacements then that's entirely appropriate.

The Android Marketplace relies on the penguin approach – the first downloaders of an application are expected to report their suffering to protect everyone else. It's not a perfect system, and less secure than Apple's draconian impositions, but it maintains the freedom of the platform that some people consider more important than its security.

"Just because it's coming from a known location like the Android market or the Apple App store... doesn't mean you can assume that the app isn't malicious or that there is a proper vetting process," SMobile's chief technology officer told CNet, skipping over the fact that Apple's app store does have a proper vetting process (biased, contradictory and inconsistent, admittedly, but it is a process).

SMobile might have a point about Android applications asking for more privileges than they need, and that spyware is available for Google's platform. Android users do need to think twice before downloading applications, but saying that application stores are awash with malware seems more than a little alarmist. ®

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Knock Knock tool makes a joke of Mac AV
Yes, we know Macs 'don't get viruses', but when they do this code'll spot 'em
Shellshock over SMTP attacks mean you can now ignore your email
'But boss, the Internet Storm Centre says it's dangerous for me to reply to you'
Why weasel words might not work for Whisper
CEO suspends editor but privacy questions remain
Feds seek potential 'second Snowden' gov doc leaker – report
Hang on, Ed wasn't here when we compiled THIS document
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.