Android: Maybe not as dangerous as we thought

There are certain statements in IT that just become almost accepted at face value over time: Internet Explorer is the worst. Apple devices don’t get viruses. Android devices are inherently dangerous.  

Maybe these reputations are earned for good reasons, but a recent report by Google is looking to combat the impression that its phones and tablets are malware-ridden – and it has some good data to back that claim up.

More than 99% safe

According to Google’s Android Security 2014 Year in Review, fewer than 1% of Android devices had a potentially harmful app in the previous year.

And users who only downloaded apps from the Google Play store had better security. Only .15% of those users had a potentially harmful app installed. That shows the importance of the old rule to only download apps from a trusted store.

Aside from its own store, which scans devices for malicious apps 200 million times a day, Google also scanned outside apps for vulnerabilities. Google’s Verify Apps service scans devices regularly to detect if there’s anything malicious running on the device.

New developments to come

Google also stressed that it’s working to make sure Android app developers are playing by the rules. Last year, 25,000 applications were updated following security notifications from Google. It’s not stopping there, either.

Google announced a team of experts is working to identify violations of its app policies inside the Play store and security protections for outside apps.

So … is it safe?

To say that Android devices are safer or less safe than Apple is putting undue pressure on the device itself. Like all things, the safety of the device depends on who is using it and how.

These figures are certainly encouraging – fewer than 1% of Android devices being infected with a harmful app certainly runs counter to the narrative that the devices are malware-ridden.

But at the end of the day, it’s up to users to treat devices with sound judgment and follow smart mobile policies, such as always using a PIN, downloading apps from trusted sources and reading permissions on each app carefully.

Make Smarter Tech Decisions

Get the latest IT news, trends, and insights - delivered weekly.

Privacy Policy