Whether you are a current or potential Android user, you would surely have heard horror stories concerning the security of Google’s ridiculously popular operating system. Is there any reality in these stories, or are they fabricated or are simply a result of misconceptions? Rather than getting into a debate, let’s take a more logical approach by addressing some of the most common pitfalls associated with Android.
Google Play Store is Not as Safe as it Seems
Although Google claims that it has developed a strict criterion for acceptance of any app, the truth is many of the apps on Google Play are either fake, or they have malware such as spyware or adware embedded in them. While certain spyware has earned conditional legitimacy, with Mobistealth being a prime example of this, majority still fall under malware because of their threatening and even illegal activity. It’s these apps that pose the greatest threat to unsuspecting Android users. Unfortunately, a large number of these users are guilty of not paying attention to permissions the apps they’re downloading requires. This results in them inviting malicious apps to their device inadvertently, which consequently leads to data leakage, battery drainage, and poor performance among other things. The major drawback is that there is no hard and fast rule to know if an app is safe or not, as most of the apps containing malware appear perfectly normal and harmless even after they’ve been installed.
Open Source Makes Android Vulnerable To Security Threats
According to Andrew Borg, who is the research director at research firm Aberdeen, Android is open source, which makes it risky compared to iOS and Windows Phone. Android operating system got its code from Android Open Source Project or AOSP. The fact that it is open source surely provides a lot of opportunities to passionate developers who can experiment with the code and come up with a customized operating system, but it also causes serious security risks. There are all sorts of coding enthusiasts out there. The good lot point out the flaws in Android so that Google can fix them, whereas the other kind tries to exploit these flaws. Any developer with a deeper understanding of this operating system can easily target Android users, who are in billions, through exploitation of these flaws. This leaves Android users vulnerable to serious security risks.
Android’s Popularity Adds to its Security Risks
Android is undoubtedly one of the leading operating systems, mainly due to the unique features it offers. It is popular among people of all ages and all professions. According to the data obtained from International Data Corporation (IDC), Android has a market share of 82.8% as of 2015. In other words, Android dominates the market. This makes it a center of attention for hackers, developers, and IT experts who try their best to find the loopholes in it. Many of them succeed. As mentioned earlier, geniuses with malicious intent consider these loopholes as their lottery ticket, exploiting them to manipulate the Android devices and steal private information of users.