The big players are all involved; McAfee(1), AVG (2) and Symantec (3) have all released Android smartphone security and anti-virus apps. Why the sudden rush though? Global Threat Centre have published two whitepapers in June 2010 regarding the potential threat 48,000 apps posed to Android systems (4). Google has had to take down apps from the Android market because of malware being distributed through the market. In March 2011 nearly 50 apps have been discovered to pose a threat to Android smartphones (5).
Why? Google’s Android OS is based on a Linux-kernel which means its open-source unlike BlackBerry or Apple. You can go on the Android website, visit the developers page and download the SDK development pack. If you know a little bit about coding and programming then you could feasibly create malware and publish it on the Android marketplace. The rise in the big 3 (McAfee, AVG and Symantec) have released Smartphone security apps because there is a market for it.
McAfee who were recently acquired by Intel have seen revenues increase, according to Bloomberg, in its Mobile Security division by 33% in the last quarter of 2010. The prominence of Android, the freedom developers have, albeit new stricter rules Google have introduced on newly developed apps from the end of 2010 onwards, mean there is a possibility malware is still available on the Android marketplace( 6).
Well what can you do? The first thing I have done when I get a shiny new Android phone is to download AVG from the Android Market. But Symantec and Norton have all released similar products, with features that beat the free AVG app by far, the issue is payment. Whether you wish to subscribe or not. At the end of the day how much do you depend on your phone. No security software could mean that if you download that bubble game or sexy bikini girl wallpaper it could result in you loosing all your pictures, music, apps and could in the absolute worst case tamper with your phones internal software. So be careful make sure you know what your installing, read reviews and backup to your SD card.
So the first thing you should do with your new or old Android phone is to install an Android mobile security app immediately it doesn't matter from which provider just make sure your lifeline to the world is secured.