Posted by: David Harley | March 11, 2013

Android, malware, and blaming the victim

More Android commentary: ESET’s Stephen Cobb makes a convincing and detailed case for Android as ‘the new Windows’, in Android security issues: does a Microsoft Windows analogy make sense?

Not in a ‘the OS is rubbish at security sense’ sort of way – Stephen is a security professional, not a ‘my OS good, your OS bad’ fanboi – but in a ‘here are some reasons why you might want to install some security software’ way. Which has, of course, sparked some anti-AV commentary, noticeably in response to an article by Frederick Paul that quoted Stephen at length. Like this:

He [Stephen Cobb] pretty much disqualified himself after he mentioned they [ESET] offer an anti-virus product for Android. If you don’t sideload and use common sense, you’re fine.

Well, since I also derive a good part of my income from the same security company, I guess I’m not entitled to offer an opinion either. Far be it from me to try to convince anyone that it’s possible for someone to be both well-informed and honest, even though that’s what they’re paid for. After all, Google’s own Chris DiBona – clearly a totally impartial commentator – put us all into our place when he told us we should be ashamed to work for a company ”selling virus protection for android, rim or IOS.”

When Appthority said that ‘only’ 1% of Android apps were malicious, this was presumably meant to be dismissive in the same way as the comment to the Paul article. Both remind me of years of being badmouthed –  many years before I ever made a penny out of the security industry – by Mac zealots who believed that even if there was such a thing as Mac malware, it didn’t matter because it wasn’t viral and anyway it was the victims’ own fault. Android may be the ‘new Windows’ in terms of being targeted by malware authors, but in terms of fanboi wishful thinking and blaming the victim, it’s the new Apple.

David Harley
Not expressing anyone’s opinion but his own.


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