Android AV - A slightly different perspective

Discussion in 'Android Tablet Discussions' started by gurgle, Dec 16, 2011.

  1. gurgle

    gurgle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    First off, I want to emphasize. I think AV, intrusion protection is needed and should be a planned application. Now for the semi-rant. This is not about Android, it is about common sense.
    Anti-Virus is at this time in my opinion and testing still primitive and lacks the needed protection capability for most Android OS systems. This is verified by other reports and research.
    This is why there has been the FUD party also for the anti-Android community this past week. (FUD=Fear Uncertainty and Doubt)
    Android by design is a secure OS. But the user community will go out of its way to make their tablet insecure. They will
    1. Root their Systems to remove some of the security controls
    2. Apply unknown CFW from potentially untrusted sources.
    3. Enable Direct installs so that they can sideload an app
    4. Install apps from Torrents or just because they do not want to pay for the app
    5. Use Markets or sources that are neither Google, Amazon, Appslib or one of the generally approved Markets.
    I could go on and on, but you get the picture. We are all guilty in one level or another of the items listed above. We as users complain when added controls are added to protect the OS by the Firmware or that the warranty is made invalid by loading a CFW or root their system. You say well it is my system isn't it? Sure it is, but don't beg for sympathy or assistance if you do one of these things and do not realize the consequences.
    Most Trojans and things like Keyloggers and credential stealers are still limited to certain geographic locations like Asia. But as Android gets more popular, this will change. Just today, it was shown the Wallet stores sensitive details in clear text. This sort of poor coding makes it that much easier to steal data. And if you do not use common sense and practice safe computing, you are a future target.
    So how to protect yourself. USE COMMON SENSE.
    1. Do NOT Sideload an app from an unknown source or store
    2. Do YOU really need Root. Most tasks no longer need root to accomplish needed things. Unless you know what you are doing, reconsider getting root just to have it
    3. If using a CFW, use it from a known source.
    4. Turn OFF direct installs as a default except when you have to restore or know the source of your app
    5. Pay the little bit extra and get a Tablet which meets your needs and has Android Market or Use Amazon or Appslib or similar reputable stores
    6. AND install an AV product which monitors web behavior and installation monitoring. AVG, Lookout and there are others. The thing is the Android AV is still a work in progress. And Anti-Virus apps must be continually updated to provide adequate protection.
    The removal of the Apps from Android Market due to Malware installs show that even Market apps are not safe. All I can say and emphasize is THINK before you do something that will lower your security footprint. Otherwise,be prepared in the long run for potential of grief, especially if you use your Android device for any purchases or financial transactions.

    Share and Enjoy
     
  2. Tom T

    Tom T Senior Member

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    Although this is interesting it seems to address an issue that really isn't much of an issue at all. As you noted yourself, malware, where it exists, is likely to come from trusted sources as not. The draw of Android is its open nature, and your point seems to be that we need to make Android more like Apple to protect us, including from ourselves. I say a bit of risk is a small price to pay for the ability to mod and customise our devices either to make them more useful or just to learn and have fun. I Root, therefore I am....sorry, it's late and that's the catchiest thing I could come up with right now.

    Sent from my Transform TF101 using Android Tablet Forum
     
  3. Spider

    Spider Administrator Staff Member

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    IMHO, gurgle has pointed out an absolute fact and Tom T has told us why it's a fact. As I wander all over this forum, I see countless examples of the problems caused by this behavior on the part of the users. So far, it's damage they've done to themselves like bricked tablets etc. Unfortunately, I believe the day will come when they have more to fear than themselves. As tablets become more popular and the potential profit increases there will be malware to reap the harvest we create by violating the rules gurgle laid out for us. I can only hope that the anti-malware will step up to the challenge and protect us from ourselves by the time that happens. In the meantime, I'm using Lookout for it's added features and hoping they're improving the anti-malware part so that if/when the malware arrives it will afford me some protection. For now, at least it makes me feel a little safer out there.:cool:
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2011
  4. gurgle

    gurgle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You notice though, I did not say you should not Root, Or use CFWs. The cause for my semi-rant is the result of a friend who bought one of the $119 specials with 2.2 and immediately without backing up or doing any research on what is the appropriate FW to use. Just went and tried to make the unit a Honeycomb with a FW which looked close. Result:bricked I helped him recover and install the original FW, he tries to Root. Result: weirdness with the device. I tear my hair a bit and recover his device back again. I stopped him before he sideloaded a Market which asked for PPI (Private Personal Info) and was not a real market installer.
    I am just wanting anyone who has not considered the dangers they pose to themselves by their behavior opens them to what could be a much worse thing than a frustrated friend who is not going to help the fourth time. He is on this forum so he knows who he is.
     
  5. Tom T

    Tom T Senior Member

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    As I read this thread again I realize that for probably a majority of Android users it would serve them well to read the original post and take it to heart. The real threat is not to people who bought their Android tablet to learn, mod and tweak it to their hearts content, it is for those that want to use these devices for more productive purposes, tools to complement their phones and computers. To be honest for these users the only real options are high end Tablets by major manufacturers, and these devices do not need root or flashed alternative roms to be useful, but I suppose even they are not without risk (of course, no computer is absolutely secure).

    People that use their machines for mainly entertainment purposes are in another class, and these are the people who expose themselves to the greatest threat. Many of these people either want or have to buy less expensive alternatives, and these devices almost invariably HAVE to be modified to be useful. People that know this in advance are probably looking forward to the challenge, much like the treasured time I spent with my Ideos S7. It's the people that find themselves in situation where they bought an Android device and expected it to function like the iPad or Galaxy Tab they see on tv commercials but soon realize that they have to make modifications they are not knowledgeable about just to make them functional and they face a steep learning curve and above average chance of failure or worse.

    Sent from my Transformer TF101 using Android Tablet Forum
     
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  6. gurgle

    gurgle Super Moderator Staff Member

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    You caught my points to a T. It happened last year, when Froyo was the latest and greatest version. (It seems so primitive now) And They would buy a 500-800Mhz ARM11 unit that could barely run anything but the basics.
    It is unfortunate, but version 2 is occuring this year. People are buying the Low end tabs (Less than $150) and immediately have problems which would be avoided by spending just a bit more. These are also the same ones who will sideload or use Market Alternatives which are the primary sources for Malware right now.
    Thus, I encourage everyone to take these topics to heart when Buying and also post-purchase, where you get your apps.

    Cheers
     

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