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In the war between smartphone operating systems, Apple and Android have for a long time been deep in the trenches fighting for favouritism among their smartphone users.
McAfee has now released a report, showing that with no shadow of a doubt, Apple’s “Fortified Garden” take on securing their OS has paid off. According to this report, Android has accounted for 63% of all Mobile Malware, beating out Java ME with only 20%, during the second quarter of 2011. Apple’s IOS did not even feature, and it would have to be assumed that it fell under the “Other” category, accounting for a whopping 4%. To date, there has been no account of malware on an iPhone that is not jailbroken.
Part of Android’s biggest defences, also happens to be one of the biggest complaints from its open-source user-base. Fragmentation.
The fact that a handful of Android flavours are running on such a vast multitude of handsets, actually ends up protecting the platform from being an even bigger target from attackers
With the release of Android’s latest OS, Ice Cream Sandwich, it will be an attempt to unify a few of their previous releases. This, in conjunction with handset manufacturers beginning to standardise hardware running Android, is going to draw an even bigger target on the mobile platforms’ back.
McAfee has agreed that Android’s rise over the last 4 years certainly plays a role, but many of its security flaws can be attributed to an insecure Java-based virtual machine to execute apps, and a lack of trusted
digital signatures for apps.
Chris DiBona, Open Source Programs Manager at Google, recently put it bluntly on
Google+: “Virus companies are playing on your fears to try to
sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and IOS. They are charlatans
McAfee has tipped its hat in Apple’s direction, with regards to it’s fortress OS, and stringent App Store. These 2 factors are playing a major role in keeping malware off if its IOS platform. McAfee has however, made it clear that this will not make Apple devices bulletproof. There may be scenario in the future where applications will run off of code that may be designed to do “bad things”, most likely set to lie dormant for some time before potentially stealing info from its users. The concerning factor, is that these might even come from “Pay Apps”.