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Old December 13th, 2009, 09:08 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Android and Viruses....

I've seen SO many apps on the market that say they are virus scanners, and every time I find a new one, I have to let out a little chuckle. Of course, when I see how many people have actually downloaded these virus scanners, it kinda makes me sick. See Android, while not GNU/Linux, is still Linux, and as such is nearly immune to viruses. ESPECIALLY the Windows Mobile viruses that all these virus scanners actually can detect.

While Android DOES have security holes that can be exploited, almost all of them have required root access to affect your machine. There has never been, and it is very unlikely that there will ever be, a virus written specifically for Android, the market share of each individual phone is too small, and Android is inherently a very secure OS when it comes to malicious files being run on your phone. Note, every program you install on your phone, whether you have rooted your phone or not, requires your permission to install, unless you have somehow disabled the permission macro that is run every time you find a new piece of software.

Even if you decide to go the illegal route and torrent or newzbin some software, the installers will still ask your permission to install the files. Granted, I wouldn't trust those files from non-Market sources nearly as much as Market-sourced software, but you really don't have a lot to worry about. I DO NOT and HAVE NEVER endorsed or supported software piracy, so don't take this as permission to go download your favorite PAY software for free somewhere... I'm just making the point that the virus scanner software for Android is plain and simple, a scam, designed to make the developer hundreds of thousands of dollars... These guys are laughing all the way to the bank as they think about how many people are downloading their software - AND paying subscriptions (OMG, what?) - for their programs with Windows Mobile virus definitions... Heck, I'm still laughing about it.

So some friendly advice, from a guy who knows a LOT about viruses... save your money, because even if someone DOES figure out how to get a virus on your phone, it's a google phone... everything on it is backed up to google, so if there is a problem, just do a factory reset, and as soon as you set up your gmail account again on the phone, you will have everything back again, minus any virus or spyware you might have had.

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Old December 13th, 2009, 12:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
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While what you saying is mostly true, remember that the Iphone was much the same way, until it was jail broken, and people left holes up.

So while I think our phones are secure now, it may not always be so. I'm no fan of AV software either. It doesn't work if the PEBKAC issue isn't solved.

I've NEVER run AV software on any system I was the only person using. I've only ever gotten 2 viruses. One I got on purpose, as I was curious, the second was new enough that I missed it.

So if you REALLY want to keep your system, be it PC, Mac, Iphone, Android phone, etc, watch what you install on your system. If it's too good to be true, research it. Usually doesn't take long to figure things out. Google is your friend (and overlord )
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Old December 13th, 2009, 12:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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people jailbreak their iPhones because Apple is so closed, it's the only way to get apps from outside the app store. More and more 'casual' users are doing it to change wallpaper, have multitasking and all kinds of interesting apps.

The biggest reason for rooting android seems to be apps2sd. Apple never had this problem because iPhones have lots of internal memory and no SD to deal with. Android is usually the opposite but thanks to the root hackers, there is a solution. But this is a new capability that android never had before, not a capability that android has but doesn't let you use. Once google incorporates this, there will be very little reason to root and the Android ecosystem won't be a virus target.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 01:00 PM   #4 (permalink)
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So while I think our phones are secure now, it may not always be so. I'm no fan of AV software either. It doesn't work if the PEBKAC issue isn't solved.
LOL! Very true.

I also agree, for now. There may be no viruses for the android OS, but that could easily change. IMO, linux doesn't have viruses only because not many people use it. Virus authors would not be very motivated to write a virus for linux when it wouldn't get very far. Just my .02.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #5 (permalink)
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LOL! Very true.

I also agree, for now. There may be no viruses for the android OS, but that could easily change. IMO, linux doesn't have viruses only because not many people use it. Virus authors would not be very motivated to write a virus for linux when it wouldn't get very far. Just my .02.
Umm.. true to an extent. You're right saying that not as many people use it, and since it has a smaller marker share there's not as much money for virus/spyware makers as there is in the PC/Mac scene. That being said, that's not the only reason... linux is a lot more secure than the other OSes as well. A lot.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 01:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Umm.. true to an extent. You're right saying that not as many people use it, and since it has a smaller marker share there's not as much money for virus/spyware makers as there is in the PC/Mac scene. That being said, that's not the only reason... linux is a lot more secure than the other OSes as well. A lot.
Good point, but it still comes down the user, and how educated they are with the OS they are using. A lot of malware relies on social engineering techniques. Overall, I would agree that linux viruses would have a much harder time spreading though.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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What about sending data over an open wi fi?
Would that be safe? No firewall needed?

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Old December 14th, 2009, 09:13 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I have to chuckle whenever I see a post like this. There's so much adolescent machismo dripping all over it but it's just narrow minded. Like the OP never heard of malware. It's like there exist these tiny isolated worlds, these little walled gardens, these extremes, where it's either a virus that roots your phone and rewrites the whole OS into a spam machine, or it's the user's fault.

By the way how many apps have you all installed that asked for full internet access that you couldn't immediately, on the spot, think of why it needed internet access?

Also, AFAIK nothing is screened in the market. It just requires developers to self sign their apps, which does nothing to prevent malware. It just leaves a unique ID so google could block that app after something went wrong.


Now this is not to say I'm all chicken little/the sky is falling over here. I have a perfectly reasonable level of trust in the effectiveness of the community policing the apps. But to insult those downloading anti-virus apps is a bit ignorant in my opinion.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
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What about sending data over an open wi fi?
Would that be safe? No firewall needed?

Thanks,
Barry

I wouldn't log into your bank over a wifi other than your work's or home's. I also wouldn't transmit any passwords over any wifi you dont trust (which should be most any public wifi). There is one popular one for airports that's a company you pay for access that's reasonably trustworthy but I can't remember the name of it off my head. And you can probably trust something like starbucks, but you'll have to decide that for yourself.


Also whenever possible be sure to use WPA or WPA2 encryption, WEP is crap and can be cracked in minutes.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 09:28 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Now this is not to say I'm all chicken little/the sky is falling over here. I have a perfectly reasonable level of trust in the effectiveness of the community policing the apps. But to insult those downloading anti-virus apps is a bit ignorant in my opinion.
Im a bit ignorant to the whole Android OS and the security issue people talk about with this OS, but I think I can agree with this statement.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 10:46 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I wouldn't log into your bank over a wifi other than your work's or home's. I also wouldn't transmit any passwords over any wifi you dont trust (which should be most any public wifi). There is one popular one for airports that's a company you pay for access that's reasonably trustworthy but I can't remember the name of it off my head. And you can probably trust something like starbucks, but you'll have to decide that for yourself.


Also whenever possible be sure to use WPA or WPA2 encryption, WEP is crap and can be cracked in minutes.
I'd skip wpa as well. Though a good wpa password is okayish. WPA can be bruted if you have a dictionary password, in minutes as well. WPA2 is less susceptible, though it can be done as well. I've done wep in a minute twelve seconds, and wpa with a dictionary pass in about 5 minutes. A good password will change that several hundred years, with a cluster of supercomputers.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 02:14 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I'd skip wpa as well. Though a good wpa password is okayish. WPA can be bruted if you have a dictionary password, in minutes as well. WPA2 is less susceptible, though it can be done as well. I've done wep in a minute twelve seconds, and wpa with a dictionary pass in about 5 minutes. A good password will change that several hundred years, with a cluster of supercomputers.
now I'm getting confused.
You're talking about the configuration on a router, right?
Not on the Droid, right?
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Old December 14th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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so much stuff to learn with my new "toy".....
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Old December 14th, 2009, 05:22 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Not everybody knows that Android is a Linux based OS, and even fewer of those people probably know how a Linux system works, or that it is highly resilient to malware. There's no need to make people feel stupid for doing something that they just assume is protecting their phone.

I understand that you're just giving advice here, but that initial paragraph came across a little bit rude and condescending. If I were to run around asking everybody I know with an Android phone how much they know about Linux, 99% of them probably will have never even heard of it.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 09:53 PM   #15 (permalink)
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now I'm getting confused.
You're talking about the configuration on a router, right?
Not on the Droid, right?

Both the router and the droid need to be configured to use the same encryption. Unfortunately WEP is the default on most routers because it's considered "easy."

Really though he's right WPA2 is best.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 11:02 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I have to chuckle whenever I see a post like this. There's so much adolescent machismo dripping all over it but it's just narrow minded. Like the OP never heard of malware. It's like there exist these tiny isolated worlds, these little walled gardens, these extremes, where it's either a virus that roots your phone and rewrites the whole OS into a spam machine, or it's the user's fault.

By the way how many apps have you all installed that asked for full internet access that you couldn't immediately, on the spot, think of why it needed internet access?

Also, AFAIK nothing is screened in the market. It just requires developers to self sign their apps, which does nothing to prevent malware. It just leaves a unique ID so google could block that app after something went wrong.


Now this is not to say I'm all chicken little/the sky is falling over here. I have a perfectly reasonable level of trust in the effectiveness of the community policing the apps. But to insult those downloading anti-virus apps is a bit ignorant in my opinion.

Assuming that I'm some adolescent who needs to express his machismo on an internet forum is exactly the kind of trolling that makes people afraid of malware and viruses on these phones. Linux in general is extremely resilient, and resistant even to Malware. Everything on the Market IS screened and yes, authors and developers CAN sign their own apps, but there are multiple levels to the Google Market, the first of which only a small portion of users have access to, for testing, after which the software is approved for the 2nd round of the market.

My original post was directed at the current swarming of AV programs whose virus definitions are for WINDOWS MOBILE devices, because there are no viruses to define a heuristic pattern on any Linux based system. The whole idea of the GNU/Linux project - and people who hack it purposely - is to not only find security holes, but to them provide the community a method to fix the problem. It is a source of pride for Linux programmers to fix the holes they have exploited.

My point was that the AV software available on the market right now is absolutely 100% useless, and will remain useless because we are using a 2.6 kernel, which is patched for pretty much every security flaw before it ever gets ported into the Android OS... Any security holes found in Android are immediately reported and patched by Google... so until people start REALLY Maliciously hacking Linux, which will NEVER happen because there isn't a large enough consumer base - and even then, the developer base that are doing it on purpose will be fixing the problems before the hackers can really do anything with it - you will NEVER need a virus scanner for Android.

Ignorance being bliss, as it is... the people who are paying their $10.00 or whatever for a WINDOWS virus scanner ported to Android just make me laugh... People who are too lazy to do a little research and just trust that something that says "Anti Virus" is actually going to be beneficial... People who believe the POPUP on their Vista machine that says "Antivirus Pro has detected a virus on your system... click here to buy and install." How the hell did it detect it if it's not installed? oh, yeah... ITS MALWARE all by itself.

By the way... before you come in here and insult the OP - me - it might help you to find out a little about my experience before calling me an adolescent. I've been building computers probably longer than you've owned a computer, working in Linux since Slackware was in its infancy, and teaching family, friends, and siblings about computer security since I was in 2nd grade.... my 10-year old son is an adolescent, and knows more about computer security than most high school graduates.

***Disclaimer*** I totally expect to get a warning for directly attacking someone in this post, but please mods, let it be known I was directly attacked, and I refrained from calling names or belittling anyone... I simply explained that it was useless, and defended myself. Kthx...
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Old December 15th, 2009, 01:04 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I didn't assume your were an adolescent, I said you were behaving like one. And sure enough, you still are. You wave knowledge of Linux around like it's a badge of authority. Malware doesn't have to be a full fledged virus. You obviously know that too, except you pretend that it just cant happen to the "perfection" that is open source and Google.

Do you get why that makes you sound narrow minded? As far as I know Google originally used some older libraries in Android with known security holes and was rightly criticized for it.

Regardless, I feel it's a safe operating system and that you may very well have a valid complaint that the current crop of AV software on the market is useless. I also am a big supporter of open source and Google and Android. But to tell users that they should never worry because Google backs up everything in the cloud is silly, and bad advice.

What you could have done that might have been helpful is to make aware users of how the permissions work. Perhaps you can share some of that Linux knowledge, eh? You could tell users what to watch out for, and what their options are, and even what a heuristic is.



This is why I posted what I did. I apologize for my condescending tone, but your original post was of the same ilk.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 03:59 AM   #18 (permalink)
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web browsing.. could this mess me up?

i know some websites that are bad, give me trojans on my desktop PC, im not saying im going to use them, but what if there are websites or apps that load websites that may have spyware malware trojans or various bad guys..

are these apps that run fishy websites, or browsing on some websites going to harm my precious little android

is it at all possible?
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Old December 15th, 2009, 04:15 AM   #19 (permalink)
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@ alostpacket I don't think he was coming off as rude, really. I agree with him that people who blindly purchase things based upon labels such as "Anti-Virus" without researching first have more money than brains and deserve to have their money taken.

xentrik is a great example.. he/she is researching a bit before pulling the trigger, which I applaud. To answer xentrik's question.. I don't believe you have to much to worry about, because (as was mentioned earlier) Linux is an extremely well designed OS. Keep in mind, also, that any trojans, etc. have to be specially designed for a given system. A trojan designed for WinXP isn't going to do anything to Linux, for example. Anyways, I'll let someone who knows more than I do answer with a more comprehensive answer.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 08:48 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Question confused??

I am very interested in the conversation that Android is safe to viruses. I had my entire music library delete before my eyes less than 24 hours after I downloaded imusic (app from market) which I gave permission to access my library. Afterwards, I downloaded 2 songs played them both several times. When I woke in the morning to play the song once again I was prompted with a phrase to the effect "this song is not formatted to be compatible with this player". I tried several songs from my original library all with the same prompt. I then turned off my phone. Rather than turning off it rebooted on its own. I quickly went to music to then see my entire library disappear. If this isn't a virus what could it be? I am concerned about mounting the phone to a computer, even though it's a mac.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 09:02 AM   #21 (permalink)
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getting lookout was a no brainer for me.. needed the location service, the anti virus was just a bomus
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Old December 15th, 2009, 09:16 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I am very interested in the conversation that Android is safe to viruses. I had my entire music library delete before my eyes less than 24 hours after I downloaded imusic (app from market) which I gave permission to access my library. Afterwards, I downloaded 2 songs played them both several times. When I woke in the morning to play the song once again I was prompted with a phrase to the effect "this song is not formatted to be compatible with this player". I tried several songs from my original library all with the same prompt. I then turned off my phone. Rather than turning off it rebooted on its own. I quickly went to music to then see my entire library disappear. If this isn't a virus what could it be? I am concerned about mounting the phone to a computer, even though it's a mac.
I'll refrain from the protected music lecture, because really what you do with your own phone is entirely up to you. I see so many people talking about the great features of "i music" and I did download it the day I got my Droid... but after a few minutes of playing with it, I decided I would be better off with Pandora, or if I really wanted my phone to be filled with MP3s, to only fill it with songs from my own computer, derived from sources that I trust.

The problem with "i music" is the permissions you give it. If I were using it again, I would absolutely make sure I don't save my regular MP3s in the same folder. "i music" obviously still has some bugs, so preventing it from having access to anything but the single folder it needs to download music to is extremely important. Don't get me wrong, the function of "i music" is extremely cool, and no different than limewire/napster.

Some tips for preventing "i music" from deleting all your music in the future:

Create a separate folder for all the MP3s you get from your computer, CDs, etc. Call it "MP3s" or something... Remember that Android folders are case sensitive, so if you're doing this from a terminal emulator (after rooting your phone) and you type "MP3s", "mp3s" will not work to navigate to that folder.

When searching for songs, for instance "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie, you'll notice there's many different copies of the same song available. The giant sized 12-15MB versions of the song are 256-320kbit quality songs, something your phone can't even take advantage of. The highest quality mp3 stream that your phone CAN take advantage of is 192kbit, which is CD quality. These files are generally between 3-6MB, and won't fill up your SD card so fast.

Only use "i music" to download songs, not manage your library. Use the built in media player, or some other Market media player that only has access to PLAY the songs, not change them. When you're done downloading songs with "i music" shut it off... kill it with a task killer, and make sure it's on a list to ALWAYS be shut down if it starts on its own. This will prevent it from being able to delete anything.I hope this helps, and good luck with your downloads.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 09:30 AM   #23 (permalink)
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getting lookout was a no brainer for me.. needed the location service, the anti virus was just a bomus

That's the thing MERF, the virus scanner attached to lookout contains a windows mobile virus database, a set of viruses that just can't infect Android.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 09:43 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Dragonroit all of your knowledge and suggestions are appreciated. My library is backup in more than spot so gratefully I really lost nothing. I uninstalled imusic instantly and would rather, as you suggested get music from a source I trust. Ironically the song I downloaded was Crash by the Primitives. Being a mac user I am unfamiliar with the experience of a so called virus. (I'm not claiming this was a virus) In your experience would it be safe to mount the phone to the mac to then load music from itunes? I reformatted the SD card and uninstalled imusic.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 09:57 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by xentrik View Post
web browsing.. could this mess me up?

i know some websites that are bad, give me trojans on my desktop PC, im not saying im going to use them, but what if there are websites or apps that load websites that may have spyware malware trojans or various bad guys..

are these apps that run fishy websites, or browsing on some websites going to harm my precious little android

is it at all possible?
There's not much danger to phones in general on the web, unless you find yourself downloading executable programs from the internet all the time. The biggest threat to computers and phones is scripts, ActiveX, Java, Perl, whatever language the hostile jerk decides to write it in. The good thing about this, is that Android can't handle ActiveX, Java threats are few and far between because it's just too hard to write something that could harm your machine without your permission, and the people that actually know how to write in PERL and other programming languages that actually COULD be a threat to AndroidOS are professionals and not script kiddies who want to destroy your computer.

Websites that your windows PC says are not safe, will generally be safe to a Mac or Linux machine, including iPhone and Android, because these sites have malware/viruses written specifically for Windows. Windows "users" generally have some delusion that everything they do is protected because of the built-in firewall and virus scanner. I will admit, the Windows 7 versions of these programs are absolutely wonderful, but still not as good as standalone software. Because of these thoughts of "my computer is safe", more attackers write malware and viruses for Windows than for any other Operating System on the market.

When OSX and Linux have about a third of the share - OSX has about 10% and Linux has about 3-5% - of the home PC market, then you can start worrying about viruses being written for those operating systems. Until then, there's just not enough people who are trying to harm those OSes, rather they are trying to fix the holes in the OS because it's a small, tight knit community - in the case of Linux developers.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #26 (permalink)
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wow...i've had no issues with imusic yet. hope it dosnt happen to me. wont be a huge loss, all my music is still on my computer. we'll see!
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Old December 15th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Addressing alostpacket:

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I didn't assume your were an adolescent, I said you were behaving like one. And sure enough, you still are. You wave knowledge of Linux around like it's a badge of authority. Malware doesn't have to be a full fledged virus.
I addressed malware as a separate issue, and Malware is even less likely to work on a Linux box because it still requires user permission to install. Websites that cause a million and a half popups on a windows machine, due to malware on the website itself, cause exactly zero popups for the same website on an Ubuntu or Slackware system. I know this because instead of fixing my friends' Vista machines and their virus/malware problems, I just install Ubuntu on their system, and send them on their way.... If they really want Windows, they get Windows 7 now, because Vista just sucks.

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You obviously know that too, except you pretend that it just cant happen to the "perfection" that is open source and Google.
At this point, my IT Guru friend would come in here and call me a fanboi, which is a supreme insult, because I do actually believe in Open Source, Linux, the GNU, and Google. In fact, when I was telling him how absolutely awesome the Droid was, and told him that it would soon eclipse both Blackberry and iPhone for active accounts, he did actually call me a fanboi, and said Android would fall within a couple years. I never said anything about perfection, though I do believe the security of Linux/Android to be untouchable by any other OS.

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Do you get why that makes you sound narrow minded?
Not at all... just confident.

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As far as I know Google originally used some older libraries in Android with known security holes and was rightly criticized for it.
They did indeed use older libraries, and those problems were fixed quickly. The reason Verizon left the Droid untouched and didn't completely bork the OS by installing all their crap on it, is because everyone is a Dev when it comes to Linux. As soon as we root all these phones, we start trying to find holes... we send in crash data, problems with the OS, and most of the time, fixes to the problems to the developers, or what's more likely to happen is that we start building custom ROMS for our phones, and don't accept OTA updates from Android anymore, because we have customized our phones for our specific needs.

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Regardless, I feel it's a safe operating system and that you may very well have a valid complaint that the current crop of AV software on the market is useless.
Indeed... thanks for agreeing with me on that.

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I also am a big supporter of open source and Google and Android. But to tell users that they should never worry because Google backs up everything in the cloud is silly, and bad advice.
Its not silly, and I didn't say NEVER... I said not right now, and not with the current set of Antivirus software available. One day, someone WILL write an Android virus, and it will not be detected by the virus scanners. The fix will come from the community, from people who have recovery ROMS and full backups of their phones. It will be submitted to Android, they will pass the OTA fix, and all things will be good again.

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What you could have done that might have been helpful is to make aware users of how the permissions work. Perhaps you can share some of that Linux knowledge, eh? You could tell users what to watch out for, and what their options are, and even what a heuristic is.
Linux has user groups, similar to Windows. You can have an "administrator account" which in Linux is called "root". This root account has ultimate power over your device or computer. It can change things without asking permission, delete everything on your phone, and install anything it wants. For the root account to function, however... you have to "sudo" into your phone. The reason for this, is everyone is inherently logged in as a "user". You have a specific set of permissions, and to approve changes, delete files, and install software, you need to sign, put in a password, or click a selection of buttons confirming that you actually want to do that, so you don't break anything. Root is assumed to be knowledgeable in the OS, so these safety measures are taken away. So be careful when installing any software that "requires root access" unless you know exactly what it does.

Heuristic is an adjective for experience-based techniques that help in problem solving, learning and discovery. A heuristic method is particularly used to rapidly come to a solution that is hoped to be close to the best possible answer, or 'optimal solution'. Heuristics are "rules of thumb", educated guesses, intuitive judgments or simply common sense. A heuristic is a general way of solving a problem. In more precise terms, heuristics stand for strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines.

Because there are so few instances of viruses and virus behavior in Linux systems, there is no Heuristic data available for the problem solving necessary to write a virus scanner for Android. In fact, the only reason to install a virus scanner on ANY Linux PC or linux based phone right now, is to protect and scan Windows machines in your network. Sadly, this is a fact. However, installing a firewall is a smart move, and if you can find a good one, it will protect any unauthorized access to your phone or linux computer. This is especially useful if you use WiFi more than 3g, say in your house, or more likely, in a coffee shop or other wifi hotspot.

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This is why I posted what I did. I apologize for my condescending tone, but your original post was of the same ilk.
I'm sorry too... let's agree to disagree on certain things, and just help people instead of arguing about crap for the rest of the stuff. =)
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Old December 15th, 2009, 10:51 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dragonriot View Post
Heuristic is an adjective for experience-based techniques that help in problem solving, learning and discovery. A heuristic method is particularly used to rapidly come to a solution that is hoped to be close to the best possible answer, or 'optimal solution'. Heuristics are "rules of thumb", educated guesses, intuitive judgments or simply common sense. A heuristic is a general way of solving a problem. In more precise terms, heuristics stand for strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines.
Plagiarize much?

Virus scanners, no matter what OS they run on, rely for the most part on virus definitions. They use a database of virus "fingerprints" or unique bits of code present in the virus/malware to identify it. Heuristics are used by virus scanners to help identify previously unknown viruses, viruses which do not have a definition developed yet or variants of existing viruses. Basically the AV program monitors running processes for virus/malware like behavior and if it triggers enough alarms (for lack of a better term) in the AV program, the AV program makes the assumption that the process could be a possible virus/malware and alerts the user. The vast majority of virus alerts are triggered via definition matching and not due to heuristics.


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Old December 15th, 2009, 10:53 AM   #29 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by silverhawk View Post
Plagiarize much?

Virus scanners, no matter what OS they run on, rely for the most part on virus definitions. They use a database of virus "fingerprints" or unique bits of code present in the virus/malware to identify it. Heuristics are used by virus scanners to help identify previously unknown viruses, viruses which do not have a definition developed yet or variants of existing viruses. Basically the AV program monitors running processes for virus/malware like behavior and if it triggers enough alarms (for lack of a better term) in the AV program, the AV program makes the assumption that the process could be a possible virus/malware and alerts the user. The vast majority of virus alerts are triggered via definition matching and not due to heuristics.


Silverhawk
Oh crap... my bad... the definition of Heuristic was taken from Wikipedia... I forgot to give credit where credit was due.

On that note, the vast majority of virus alerts are triggered via definition matching and not due to heuristics, while true just can't apply to Android, because there are no definitions for viruses in Android. The reason that more hits are from definitions, is because everyone and their mother can write a virus scanner with a definition file to scan through. Very few virus scanning companies use heuristics, which is silly to me, since they are so much better than definition-based scanners.

I could seriously not update NOD32 for a year, stick it on a computer with known viruses that were created 6 months after the last update, and it would find more viruses than Kaspersky, Norton, and AVG combined, all of which could be current and fully updated. The only negative to this, is sometimes, you install something purposely, say for instance a CD crack to a piece of software, that you know is safe (and you have the CD but don't want to use it all the time)... Heuristics will detect the changes made to your program - and the fact that it no longer needs a CD to run - as a virus on occasion.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 11:06 AM   #30 (permalink)
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@dragonriot

Appreciate your latest post, it was well reasoned, respectful, and informative. Kudos. I think you might be leaving out a bit about how important permissions are but otherwise your advice is sound.

I think it's important to remind users that when the phone warns them they are giving access to say, their contacts, and full internet access, that application could full well steal info about your contacts. While this is unlikely, it's important to be diligent and rely on the community as well as be a part of the community.

Users should be encouraged to rate apps and leave helpful comments as well as report spam to the Market moderators.

Anyways, I'm glad this thread is turning out for the better Had nothing against you personally, just got a bad vibe from your original tone. I'm glad to see I was mistaken.
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Old December 15th, 2009, 11:12 AM   #31 (permalink)
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@alostpacket

looks like you've done a good job of warning them. =)

I think our work is done here... lol
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Old December 15th, 2009, 11:15 AM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dragonriot View Post
Oh crap... my bad... the definition of Heuristic was taken from Wikipedia... I forgot to give credit where credit was due.

On that note, the vast majority of virus alerts are triggered via definition matching and not due to heuristics, while true just can't apply to Android, because there are no definitions for viruses in Android. The reason that more hits are from definitions, is because everyone and their mother can write a virus scanner with a definition file to scan through. Very few virus scanning companies use heuristics, which is silly to me, since they are so much better than definition-based scanners.

I could seriously not update NOD32 for a year, stick it on a computer with known viruses that were created 6 months after the last update, and it would find more viruses than Kaspersky, Norton, and AVG combined, all of which could be current and fully updated. The only negative to this, is sometimes, you install something purposely, say for instance a CD crack to a piece of software, that you know is safe (and you have the CD but don't want to use it all the time)... Heuristics will detect the changes made to your program - and the fact that it no longer needs a CD to run - as a virus on occasion.
I would disagree, most all major anti virus software use heuristics as part of their scanning repertoire. Definitions alone cannot do the job nor can heuristics that's why they use both.

I will agree with your observations about NOD32 though; It's the best scanner on the market, which 95% of the users out there have never heard of and that's a shame. In the interest of full disclosure, I have used it for around 7 years and actually was a re-seller for Eset a few years ago.

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Old December 15th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #33 (permalink)
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I would disagree, most all major anti virus software use heuristics as part of their scanning repertoire. Definitions alone cannot do the job nor can heuristics that's why they use both.

I will agree with your observations about NOD32 though; It's the best scanner on the market, which 95% of the users out there have never heard of and that's a shame. In the interest of full disclosure, I have used it for around 7 years and actually was a re-seller for Eset a few years ago.

Silverhawk
NICE. Good to know I'm not alone here in my love for NOD32. I suppose I did misspeak a little... when I said that software like AVG, Norton, and Kaspersky don't use Heuristics.... I should have said they don't do it well, and they wouldn't work at all without having BOTH definitions and heuristics, while NOD32 can function just fine with JUST heuristics for the most part, because it's just that damn good.
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:32 PM   #34 (permalink)
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Forgive me because I am new at this forum but I have experience with android getting infected with a conficker type virus, which is supposed to be only for windows. I did a port scan on an ip that kept pinging my home computer. After I did the port scan, my phones browser stopped working. I had to download a secure proxy server based browser to surf the web. Anti virus said there was an application installed not listed. In the system app, I could no longer see the inactive (cached)processes and was connected to an ip not registered in the whois database, but not spoofed by a botnet. Flash memory seems to be a good vessel to run hidden programs from. Please tell me what you think please as I am learning too. Please don't tell me its not possible because I have seen it with my own eyes!!
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Old April 21st, 2010, 06:35 PM   #35 (permalink)
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And I forgot to mention that after I took the memory card out anti virus said my computer was clean. Its a conficker worm, not a virus.
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Old April 12th, 2011, 10:30 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Arrow Viruses get passed on

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That's the thing MERF, the virus scanner attached to lookout contains a windows mobile virus database, a set of viruses that just can't infect Android.
The point of virus checkers on any Unix based system is you don't want to be seen as the one passing on viruses. For example, someone sends you an email inadvertently including a virus. You want to pass this onto clients or coworkers but avoid passing on the virus. Without protection and scanners you pass them on to all your Windoze pals and you become the new culprit.

I'm a Mac user but ever mindful that, although Apple keep on top of the security as best they can (much better than MS), it's not a good idea to remain complacent to the idea that viruses don't affect me. They do, indirectly. The virus checkers I have installed don't have the definitions for many OSX viruses but have 15000 for Windows. Virus protection is everyones responsibility and should really be built into every operating system as standard by now.

But no virus checker for Android helps against the real threat of Malware and purpose written viruses available right from the Android app store. Rogue app are littering it and there is little protection given by Google. The most vulnerable are the non-tech-savvy users. Apple got it right by vetting everything that goes on their store. Google should definitely follow suit to protect their users.

Pi
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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:38 AM   #37 (permalink)
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It seems that some of the big anti-virus companies aren't that confident in Android's opensource / Linux security:

Big rise in Android malware anticipated - 24 May 2011 - Computing News
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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:48 AM   #38 (permalink)
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I installed AV simply to protect my phone from any *possible* infection from any source. I know what Linux is, but admit have no idea how stable/secure/easy to hack it is - whilst some may tell me it's a waste of time, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution.

Malware can be a PITA - I've had to deal with it on PCs too many times to count - and a couple have been a huge annoyance, ie: shut down the entire system!

As an aside, should an infection permeate an Android phone (no AV installed), could it conceivably be passed onto a Windows phone (again with no AV installed)?

I have AV installed on my Mac - not to protect me, but to ensure any Windows viruses don't get passed onto friends.
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Old May 24th, 2011, 02:49 AM   #39 (permalink)
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The point of virus checkers on any Unix based system is you don't want to be seen as the one passing on viruses. For example, someone sends you an email inadvertently including a virus. You want to pass this onto clients or coworkers but avoid passing on the virus. Without protection and scanners you pass them on to all your Windoze pals and you become the new culprit.

I'm a Mac user but ever mindful that, although Apple keep on top of the security as best they can (much better than MS), it's not a good idea to remain complacent to the idea that viruses don't affect me. They do, indirectly. The virus checkers I have installed don't have the definitions for many OSX viruses but have 15000 for Windows. Virus protection is everyones responsibility and should really be built into every operating system as standard by now.

But no virus checker for Android helps against the real threat of Malware and purpose written viruses available right from the Android app store. Rogue app are littering it and there is little protection given by Google. The most vulnerable are the non-tech-savvy users. Apple got it right by vetting everything that goes on their store. Google should definitely follow suit to protect their users.

Pi
Ooops, you beat me to the punch!!
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Old May 24th, 2011, 04:07 AM   #40 (permalink)
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god ur guys are smart lol i know of linux as my brother is a nerd i didt know it OS was part of linux server or linux in genral so this actully is helpful to ppl with the virus scanner well i myself would't install one due to i think it is a stupid idea but all you guys need to remember pc/mac mobile fones being any type of thing is a buiness these ppl have made them to make money in way it seems ur a bit jelous as you didt think of it first but in long run it is users decision to install virus scanner or not if they wanna install it they can if they dont want to they dont need too but dont diss out ppl cause they wanna feel safe with there fone and the ppl who made them so wat they made them to make money
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Old March 9th, 2012, 03:07 PM   #41 (permalink)
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Call this Gospel my friends, just because it hasn't been an issue to speak of to-date, doesn't mean it never will be, believe that! I can tell you hacker stories that would keep you awake at night...here's just one: A young teen hacked the phone company that serviced the control tower at a medium-sized airport which effectively took down their service and broke contact between the tower ATC's and (sorry, Air Traffic Controllers) and the pilots in the are preparing to land! Imagine your life in the sky was put in immediate and very real danger by a 14 yr old who was playing with a hacking proggie? So how far a stretch is it to imagine people who now do financial transactions on their cells would eventually be targeted by hackers? I wouldn't bet my life on it, not when it happened at 15,000 feet by a child!
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Old March 9th, 2012, 03:48 PM   #42 (permalink)
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Contrary to what the OP says, Linux is not immune to viruses. However, so-called "antivirus" applications are basically useless placebos that make people "feel safer" while not actually protecting you.

There are real threats out there, but you need real security, not "antivirus," to protect you:
Android permissions explained, security tips, and avoiding malware
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Old March 9th, 2012, 04:05 PM   #43 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aysiu View Post
Contrary to what the OP says, Linux is not immune to viruses. However, so-called "antivirus" applications are basically useless placebos that make people "feel safer" while not actually protecting you.

There are real threats out there, but you need real security, not "antivirus," to protect you:
Android permissions explained, security tips, and avoiding malware

Awesome, this was the thread that inspired me to write that guide and the app PocketPermissions.

Such a blast from the past.

Gotta bookmark this for nostalgic reasons
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Old March 27th, 2013, 03:39 PM   #44 (permalink)
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hello every one i used to think the same thing too that androids are immune to virus and malware till the day i got one i had lot of problem dealing with it
You mean until the day you installed a trojan. You didn't just get a virus. There are no viruses for Android yet.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 03:52 PM   #45 (permalink)
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Default What about TrendMicro?

OK, here is what Trend Micro says:
"Trend Micro Mobile Security Personal Edition for Android stops threats before they reach you. By the end of 2013 there will be more than 1,000,000 malicious Android apps attempting to steal information and sign you up for expensive SMS services. This cloud-based security helps keep you safe from online threats, data theft, and the loss of your Android smartphone or tablet."

If you use them for PC antiviral program, they "give" you a version for Android at no cost. I don't know about getting a virus in software as many have suggested you won't, but I do know this program has blocked me from going to malicioius web sites on my PC. I haven't had that happen yet on the phone, but I assume it could if I browsed more on it.

I don't work for Trend Micro....it came on my Dell desktop, and I really liked it so I started using it, and the new version gave me the Android app.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 04:33 PM   #46 (permalink)
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I'm fully supportive of people installing whatever they want on their own devices. I just can't stand the scaremongering and paranoia foisted on others. There is no Android virus problem, and antivirus isn't going to protect you from every malware threat. There are tons of trojans documented (almost all of which have now been removed from the Google Play store, and the rest are easy to spot and will be removed soon).
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