Android malware: Five ways to fix Google’s big problem
New research by Juniper has revealed that 92 per cent of mobile malware occurs on Android phones.
What’s more, mobile malware is up by an unbelievable 600 per cent in the last year, as more and more of us share personal data on our smartphones.
The question is, how can Google take this and make its platform as secure as iOS? Here are five ways we think the Big G could grasp the nettle.
1 Enforce fragmentation rules better
Google said at its I/O event two years ago that it was committed to bringing the latest Android software to phones for 18 months after their release.
Ten different mobile-makers even signed up to the deal. But still, Android remains a fragmented beast.
As of earlier this month, Android Gingerbread still accounts for 36.5 per cent of all Android phones, despite being two years old.
This is no longer a problem for those who want the latest software. It’s actually slowing down the rollout of the latest security updates, allowing hackers to exploit old software.
##2 Stop custom skins for good
Custom skins were all well and good when stock Android felt basic and behind the times.
But those days are gone now.
Custom skins simply hold up the roll-out of new software updates, in turn hampering security boosts too.
Vanilla Android looks great and is every bit as snappy as HTC Sense and Samsung TouchWiz.
So Google Edition phones shouldn’t be a novelty, but standard issue. The Big G must put its foot down.
3 Only allow one app store
Juniper says the creation of third-party app stores is allowing un-reviewed apps to slip onto Android unhindered.
This may not be from the likes of Amazon’s app store, but surely it’s high time Google said the Play Store was the only way Android users could get apps.
Other services are flat-out confusing to customers anyway and malware is too big an issue to ignore in this instance.
4 Vet apps like Apple
Google has improved its app-vetting procedure. But there needs to be much, much better checking of add-ons before they hit Google Play.
Apple is sometimes lambasted for being so stringent, but it’s telling that iOS is pretty much watertight when it comes to malware.
That’s not to say Apple doesn’t suffer, but to nowhere near the same extent as Google. A uniform structure and strict app policy ensures this.
5 Send out warnings to users
Google is great at sending out notifications about its apps and updates.
So it also needs to make users aware of research like this and how they can protect their device.
Not enough people know and more need to be educated about the risks of downloading certain apps.
By Joe Minihane