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can android get viruses?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by ajdepoti, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. ajdepoti

    ajdepoti Lurker
    Thread Starter

    i was at good ole verizon today with an issue with my fascinate. The tech saw lookout on my phone and said it was useless, you can't get a virus on an android device. I looked at him all perplexed saying really (not letting on i was a software engineer), how so. He didn't say, all he let on was that the only thing that could happen is your flash card showing up twice. He said Lookout sends spam sms messages to your contact list etc. Or should i say has been known to do so. i have had lookout on my droid x for 6 months and that never happened.

    so two questions, is lookout bad and is there ANY truth to the claim android can't get a virus(again from my knowledge of programming i don't see how they are protected by nature)

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  2. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=

    We're seeing reports of a "Gemini" trojan circulating in Russia, and a few others in other places.

    Any OS can become infected, Linux is seeing more coming and going from time to time (nothing like those that infect Windows machines on a world wide level, though).
  3. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert

    How many linux exploits are you aware of?
    A virus could be made, no doubt.

    But known cases of exploits are few and far between.

    Yes, lookout is a waste. The only two features it possess that are worthwhile are remote lock & wipe...which Verizon can do if you report the phone gone.
    So why have it? It eats CPU cycles & battery looking for boogeymen.

    If you are somewhat careful (especially where you download from) about what you load into the phone you should be relatively trouble free.
  4. Frisco

    Frisco =Luceat Lux Vestra=

    No doubt.

    As mentioned before, nothing like the damage done by Windows exploits, but they are around.

    Copied from the wiki on Linux exploits:


    • Kaiten - Linux.Backdoor.Kaiten trojan horse[18]
    • Rexob - Linux.Backdoor.Rexob trojan[19]
    • Waterfall screensaver backdoor - on gnome-look.org[20]
    [edit] Viruses

    • MetaPHOR (also known as Simile)[40]
    • Nuxbee - Virus.Linux.Nuxbee.1403[41]
    • OSF.8759
    • PiLoT[42][43]
    • Podloso - Linux.Podloso (The iPod virus)[44][45]
    • RELx [46]
    • Rike - Virus.Linux.Rike.1627[47]
    • RST - Virus.Linux.RST.a[48] (known for infecting Korean release of Mozilla Suite 1.7.6 and Thunderbird 1.0.2 in September 2005[49])
    • Satyr - Virus.Linux.Satyr.a[50]
    • Staog - made obsolete by updates
    • Vit - Virus.Linux.Vit.4096[51]
    • Winter - Virus.Linux.Winter.341[52]
    • Winux (also known as Lindose and PEElf)[53]
    • Wit virus[54]
    • ZipWorm - Virus.Linux.ZipWorm[55]
    [edit] Worms

    • Linux/Lupper.worm[60]
    • Mighty - Net-Worm.Linux.Mighty[61]
    • Millen - Linux.Millen.Worm[62]
    • Ramen worm - targeted versions 6.2 and 7.0 of the Red Hat Linux distributions only
    • Slapper[63]
    • SSH Bruteforce[64]
    EarlyMon likes this.
  5. Ronin12

    Ronin12 Newbie

    I'm not as techie as some of you guys but I really don't see viruses becoming a big issue in mobile phones.

    The main purpose of a virus is to extract sensitive information, like bank statements or social security number. Most, if not all, mobile apps are web based, requiring the user to physically click on the app and login to a secure server to view information. Nothing is really stored locally on the phone itself.

    Some people create viruses to annoy, but usually it is with a purpose.
  6. Jew

    Jew Member

    I would think as popularity of smartphones grow, so will the popularity of Viruses for the phone. People do access bank info and stuff through the web on their phone all the time. They access facebook and stuff like that as well. Where there is stupid people, there will be people trying to exploit them. As people above said, right now, there really isn't very many. Just be careful where you download stuff from and take the proper precautions if you root your phone.
  7. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert

    Most of the exploits today are aimed at creating a bot-net situation.

    But I can foresee malicious apps.
    A keylogger on your phone?
    Many people store sensitive data on the phone.
  8. Martimus

    Martimus One bite at a time...

    Last time I checked there were no more than about 6 known exploits in the wild for Android. Yes they are definitely out there... but they are not yet widespread. As Android grows more popular my bet is that AV software will before more and more critical.
    EarlyMon likes this.
  9. richphitzwell

    richphitzwell Well-Known Member

    Any program can be exploited look what happened with Iran's nukes last year and they were not connected to the internet. IPhone has had a few android a few and it will happen. The deal is to have people constantly looking for these and people fix the potential exploit prior to it happening. This is where a strong open source community wins over closed. There are more eyes out there for the good to purposely break and then correct but by far apps are going to be an issue as you the user is giving permission for the app to do what it wants to do. Both Google and apple have been pretty good about cleaning house of these apps in the market though and on peoples phones.
  10. ajdepoti

    ajdepoti Lurker
    Thread Starter

    don't forget a lot of these phones have credit card mobile apps and people are saving all kinds of passwords on their phones. There is sensitive info on the phones. Hell some people store more sensitive info on their phones than their PCs these days.

  11. ajdepoti

    ajdepoti Lurker
    Thread Starter

    so let me ask you this, how can you truly be sure apps in the market aren't some sort of malicious software? that was pretty much the main use for lookout for me. I read reviews, but who is to say that the reviews weren't auto generated by the virus creator.
  12. EarlyMon

    EarlyMon The PearlyMon
    VIP Member

    It's documented that gray-market app distributors are all too happy to undertake adding malware to known apps - there, the user is done in by his own greed.

    We can hope that Google will always keep the Market clean and us protected, but - security begins at home.

    Here's a repost of my top-ten list for security awareness:

    Also - I recommend - https://market.android.com/details?id=com.estrongs.android.safer
    Frisco likes this.
  13. dylo22

    dylo22 Android Enthusiast

    Android users need to stop thinking that their system is unhackable just because the OS is based on linux. ANY software can be hacked. The reason there aren't many malware in circulation for linux is because there are not that many people using linux. It has nothing with the platform.

    Besides, most of the hacking are done at the application level, even if the OS itself is air tight, it doesn't mean the apps you download and install are.

    I posted these two links in another thread. They are written not too long ago. As you see, even apps from major banks can have unintended security flaws. I'm glad the issues were found before any real damage was done.

    Banks Rush to Fix Security Flaws in Wireless Apps - WSJ.com
    Mobile banking apps may be vulnerable: Testing and results | TechRepublic
  14. AngryHatter

    AngryHatter Android Expert

    So long as you understand the risks, read the permissions and stay with Market apps, you should be ok.

    I question when a wallpaper app wants access to my contacts, et cetera.

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