As the Army eyes handing out smart phones to every soldier, one stark fact stands out: Android phones are much more susceptible to malware attacks than are iPhones.
And the number of malware attacks on Android phones is increasing rapidly, with the computer security firm McAfee saying in its quarterly security report that, “Android-specific malware moved to number one” position of mobile systems attacked.
Part of the reason behind the rise in Android attacks — beyond the fact that Android phones now dominate the marketplace, making them good targets — is the fact that the Android app store does not vet software as does Apple, according to Dave Marcus of McAfee Labs.
“One thing Apple does really well is vetting,” Marcus said. “They’ve got a very defined process for who gets to post things to their app store.” And that simple precaution ensures that most means of attacking an iPhone are stopped in their tracks.
But the iPhone and the rest of the Apple software family are not immune from attack, as the McAfee report makes clear.
“Among the specific families we track, fake anti-virus software (a.k.a. fake-alert or rogue anti-virus software) continues to show consistent growth and has even begun to climb aboard a new platform: the Mac. You read that right; fake-AV for Apple’s platform is now a reality. This does not surprise us at McAfee Labs,” Marcus’ report says. “There are more Mac users than ever before as well as steady business adoption. This puts the Apple platforms squarely in the crosshairs of malware authors. It will be interesting to see if this type of malware makes its way to the iPhone and iPad as well. It is probably a case of ‘when’ rather than ‘if.’”