Apple Exec Schiller Takes Shot at Android Over Malware Headaches
Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) Senior President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller took a potshot at rival Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) following a report that its open-source Android operating system is to blame for close to 80 percent of all mobile malware threats identified in 2012.
“Be safe out there” Schiller tweeted Thursday, linking to a new study from digital security firm F-Secure that found 79 percent of all malware discovered last year targets Android devices, up from 66 percent the previous year.
Critics maintain Google has failed to sufficiently police its Google Play storefront, making it easy for attackers to distribute malware via Android applications. Google has made strides to reduce Android threats, however: In early 2012, it unveiled Bouncer, which scans Google Play for malicious apps, and its Android 4.2, a.k.a. Jelly Bean, bakes in application verification tools. F-Secure notes that Trojans accounted for 66 percent of mobile malware detections last year, a number the firm expects to drop in 2013 as Android 4.2 expands to more devices.
The overwhelming number of malware threats facing Android is a direct reflection of the platform’s global growth, F-Secure explains. As recently as 2010, Android accounted for just 11 percent of malware, while Symbian–at that time still the leading open-source smartphone OS in terms of international market share–attracted 62 percent of threats. As of late 2012, Android now powers 68.8 percent of all smartphones shipped worldwide while Symbian has plummeted to 3.3 percent, and as a result, just 19 percent of malware now targets Symbian devices.
Apple has trumpeted its closed iOS platform as a more secure alternative to Android, although iOS devices are not immune to threats, either. Just last month, Apple released its iOS 6.1.3 beta 2 to developers, addressing a security vulnerability enabling hackers to bypass an iPhone’s lockscreen and access core device functions.