McAfee mauls Google over malware

Security vendor says open mantra is putting customers at risk
McAfee has mauled Google over its poor security record with Android. (Getty Images/AFP)
McAfee has mauled Google over its poor security record with Android. (Getty Images/AFP)

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McAfee has attacked Google’s lax attitude to mobile security, claiming its Machiavellian approach to gaining a greater share the smartphone market has created a breeding ground for criminals.

The security vendor slammed Google’s open approach to Android had “created exactly the kind of environment in which malware gangs feel comfortable.” It said that the approach was doing a disservice to its loyal customers, and putting them at an unnecessary risk.

McAfee pointed to Apple’s closed approach, and said it had been vindicated. The four and a half year old operating system has still to suffer from a single piece of malware, despite its 20% market share making it a major target for criminals.

In contrast, Google has been forced to remove 58 applications from the Android Market in recent months, with security analysts saying the number of infected applications still available is likely to be substantial, it said.

“Apple’s approach is proactive and focused on prevention,” said Dr Igor Muttik, principle architect at McAfee Labs. “Google’s plan is apparently to encourage the creation of apps and deal with the problems as they occur in a reactive fashion.

“Google’s may be a sensible approach to generate a large volume and wide variety of apps, but from a security perspective it creates exactly the kind of environment in which malware gangs feel comfortable.”

The report found that despite only having a market share of 38.5% (according to Gartner), Android accounted for 63% of all mobile malware. On the other end of the scale, iOS didn't appear due to the lack of malware on the platform.

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