Last Updated: Jan 30,2010
Seriously? Is that really necessary?
Not now but soon.... someone will try to use the trackball (The Glowing Orb of Death) and turn it into the "Red Ring of Death"! The phone will stop working and just display 3 red blinking lights.
Well I jinxed myself. Last night my XBOX 360 got the RROD. That sucks. Time to crack it open again.
...that may be why it does it...
kidding. Mine's done it twice now. (xbox, not phone...)
I was just wondering why anyone would bother creating a virus for a phone... Except maybe sprint, so they could sneak in a couple extra sales, and what not.
How open are these phones, that we would need a virus scan?
There have been viruses in the past for phones, most notably for the symbian os. From what I understand you don't have to worry if your not rooted, but it is a risk if you are.
On that note, does anyone have a suggestion for a good anti-virus app for the rooted folk that are concerned?
Nope - not needed.
I don't know if it's needed or not but as an IT person I'm conditioned to install anti-virus on everything. This being a mini-computer I couldn't get myself to make an exception.
My hero is rooted and I have LOOKOUT on it. It scans my apps for virus's, backs up my contacts, photos and other data. It also has a locator if it gets lost or stolen, I can make it scream to help me find it and it even has remote data wipe if I cant find it and don't want the thief having my stuff.
Like I said, I don't know if it's necessary but I definitely feel better having it.
since Android is Linux based.. there are VERY few virus out there. Those that are out there require ROOT access in order to do anything... sooooooooo... if you're rooted, then you "could" possibly be open to a virus attack... but even those that are out there for Linux are few in numbers. Mainly because Linux is locked down in normal use to not have persistent root access
why hasn't anyone figured out a way to SUDO our phones as needed?? you know... like Ubuntu.. it would still allow us to change ROMs and delete files as we wanted yet not have Root open all the time...
Actually, not likely, but still a risk if you are rooted.
All it takes is enough market share and the hackers will start writing for Android/Linux or even Apple. The share of these three is so small when compared to MS systems it is not worth the hassle to write a virus/worm/trojan, but that can change at any time.
That's not as true as people would think. The *nix permissions, used by Linux and Apple, make virus writing much harder than it is for Windows. You can't write a virus for Linux as such and have it infect a lot of systems. You can write a virus that exploits a specific kernel or a specific version of a daemon but that only affects a small percentage users of Linux regardless of how popular it is. That adage is also disproved by the fact 75% or more of the web runs on Linux servers and you don't see viruses written for them. Server are more powerful than your desktop and if you wanted mischief then attacking the majority OS on the net would be a great target but it doesn't happen. You see sites hacked but that's not the same as a virus. The fact is that it's just too complex to write viruses for *nix operating systems because of the separation of user and administrator that is enforced from the outset. You can't make any given user the equivalent of root like you can make any user and administrator on Windows. Well you can but it's not something that the average user knows how to do and it's not necessary for operating the system like it for Windows.
While the popularity of Windows does influence the attack vector to some degree the fact is that it's easier to write Windows viruses. It is easier by orders of magnitude.
I wouldn't worry one bit about a virus scanner on your phone even if you are rooted. Firstly your phone isn't running services you can connect to an inject a virus, unless you're a total nerd and running an ssh daemon or a webserver or somesuch, and even then the attacker would have to figure out a weakness in the service to get in. Furthermore virus scanners will never detect zero day attacks since the companies that write them are still using virus signatures to find viruses. There aren't any virus signatures for Android at all. There are very very few for Linux to begin with. There isn't even a lot heuristic data to play with. For your Hero, right now, it is useless and a waste of CPU time. The most recent attack on cell phones was due to a developer setting a default password on a service and not warning anyone to change it. No virus scanner could have stopped that attack and no virus scanner will catch a zero day virus to begin with.
I say all this from the perspective of an avid linux user who uses port knocking for ssh on my webserver and has firewall rules on my desktop behind the company firewall. The only real reason to use virus scanners on a Linux system is so you don't spread the viruses sent to you by your windows using friends and I frankly don't care if someone sends me a Windows virus and I send it on. It didn't affect me, can't affect me, and I am not going to bother using CPU cycles to check for it. If the virus scanners check email attachments you might stop yourself from forwarding a virus to a windows user and you may consider that useful but if you are using GMail I can assure you their virus checking catches more shit than the, updated weekly, McAfee corporate I have on my work-issued, Windows XP latop that I have boot into once a week on the company network so I don't lose remote access. I am a security nut all the way down to encrypted home dirs, fingerprint scan for boot or BIOS on the laptop, TPM enabled, keychain dongle for desktop lock (I walk away my screen locks), and even crazier stuff that I won't go into. Virus scanners on your Android are a waste of CPU, RAM, and ROM space.
I assume you're an IT person that primarily deals with Windows. I've been in the IT industry for 20 years and primarily deal with UNIX/Linux, and I don't use anti-virus software on the systems I build. The anti-virus companies have done a good job to condition Windows people into thinking all computers need AV software (with Windows it's a must).
Very informative, thanks.
There are a precious few anti-virus programs that use heuristics to detect zero day attacks. It is not 100% perfect, but it is successful quite often. I have had my NOD32 catch something pre-definition that later was recognized as a virus. Don't remember the .exe name, but I was asked to submit it for analysis because it displayed the characteristics of a virus and it was fresh enough in my mind at that time to recognize the .exe when it was added to a new virus list.
I am about to take the plunge and set up my first Linux system soon, so I will get to learn these things first hand.
I am. I'm an exchange admin.
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