Feeds

Android apps: Shifty little bleeders

Bit malwarey here and there

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?