Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/13/microsoft_android_malware/

Android malware victims offered free WinPhones by MS

'Haven't they suffered enough?'

By John Leyden

Posted in Software, 13th December 2011 15:45 GMT

Microsoft is offering free Windows phones to Android malware victims, providing they are prepared to tell world+dog about their problems.

The marketing stunt - already given the hashtag #droidrage on Twitter - follows a run of publicity about android malware.

Ben Rudolph (@BenthePCGuy), the Microsoft Windows Phone "evangelist" behind the social network ploy, is offering the five people with the worst stories free Windows smartphones as an alternative. It's unclear if the Android virus victims will be either asked or required to take part in advertising campaigns.

The marketing initiative has already attracted comment from security watchers. Graham Cluley, senior consultant at anti-virus firm Sophos, described the move as a "somewhat below-the-belt" attempt to highlight the possible security deficiencies of Android rather than the benefits of Windows Phones.

The hubristic promotion also rather overlooks the fact that the vast majority of malware samples (tens of millions against thousands on Android) only affect Windows desktops. Perhaps Microsoft is getting back at all those Apple ads from a few years back.

"I guess it must be kind of thrilling for Microsoft - which has endorsed the #droidrage campaign - to find the malware boot on the other foot for once," Cluley writes. "After all, they have long suffered having the Windows desktop operating system negatively compared to the likes of Unix and Mac OS X when it comes to the levels of malware infection."

As the Windows Phone-using population grows, Redmond may well find itself dealing with a mobile malware problem of its own. Some Windows malware samples, largely proof-of-concept creations admittedly, have already targeted the platform. The Android malware outbreaks we've seen of late largely involved Trojanised versions of popular games designed to send premium-rate SMS texts or harvest personal information. In addition, the launch of the #droidrage campaign on Monday coincides with the discovery of a Windows Phone bug that reportedly disables messaging.

One security consultant joked that Android malware victims ought to be the last people who receive Windows Phone smartphones, even free ones. "Haven't they suffered enough?" writes Security BSides co-founder, Jack Daniel. ®