A few days ago security company Symantec warned the world that malware is rampant on the Android Market and, via a little over a dozen apps, around 5 million users were likely infected. Cue panic.
Except: there’s no reason to panic.
Right away the makers of Lookout Mobile Security called shenanigans on Symantec’s labeling of the “Android.Counterclank” Apperhand SDK malware. It does exist in these apps, but it’s part of an ad service. A very aggressive, annoying ad service that Lookout says “the average Android user probably doesn’t want… on his or her phone,” but not malware.
The bottom line on this is: you should probably uninstall those apps regardless because it’s doing stuff in the background that you likely don’t want it to do. Personally, I feel that if you download apps called Stripper Touch Girl, Pretty Women Lingerie Puzzle and Sexy Girls Photo Game you get what you deserve.
But that’s another discussion.
I am not shocked that Symantec would make such a questionable move. It seems that the old guard virus and Internet security companies really want in on protecting Android phones but have found themselves out-maneuvered by upstarts or ignored by many users.
How many Android owners even think about malware or viruses? How many are only made aware that the possibility exists when they read alerts like the one Symantec sent out? And how many will take that as gospel instead of with a grain of salt as others did?
Mobile security is important. Being discerning about the kind of apps you download is important, too. These are things Android users should be thinking about. Fear-mongering is not the way to accomplish that, and it’s certainly not a way to keep your company relevant.