TMCnet Feature
November 22, 2011

Google's Chris DiBona: Antivirus Firms Are 'Scammers'

By Michelle Amodio, TMCnet Contributor

A Google (News - Alert) staffer is poking fun at a report saying that Android is an at-risk OS and users should beware.

The question that’s been bugging everyone in the smartphone sector this week is do Androids really need antivirus programs? A study went around saying that Android (News - Alert) devices are the target du jour when it comes to malware. The McAfee Threats Report for the third quarter said there's been a continued emphasis on mobile malware and that “Android is clearly today's target.”

Malware authors have gotten more clever, with Android malware signing users up for subscription services without their knowledge, recording their phone calls to steal data and gaining access to system databases. 

Panicked Android users of course turn to antivirus firms for the best in protection, but Google’s open-source programs manager, Chris DiBona is warning everyone to hang on for a moment.

“No major cellphone has a 'virus' problem in the traditional sense that windows and some Mac machines have seen. There have been some little things, but they haven't gotten very far,” DiBona wrote in Google+ posting.

“Yes, virus companies are playing on your fears to try to sell you bs protection software for Android, RIM and IOS. They are charlatans and scammers. IF you work for a company selling virus protection for android, rim or IOS you should be ashamed of yourself.”

The warning came just days after Google announced that over 200 million Android devices had now been activated. McAfee’s (News - Alert) report said it had logged a 37 percent increase in Android malware since July, and added that all the new malware it had catalogued was targeted at Google's mobile operating system.

McAfee said the authors of the damaging software were aided in their efforts by the open nature of the Android operating system, which allows anyone who buys a $25 developers' license to post software for download on the Android Market.

DiBona is saying that, should you read an analyst report about ‘viruses’ infecting your android phone, it’s safe to assume that analyst firm is dishonest and is staffed with, as quoted, “charlatans.”

Michelle Amodio is a TMCnet contributor. She has helped promote companies and groups in all industries, from technology to banking to professional roller derby. She holds a bachelor's degree in Writing from Endicott College and currently works in marketing, journalism, and public relations as a freelancer.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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