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Android malware: Why you shouldn't be scared

JR Raphael | March 8, 2011
Reports of malware on the Android Market are far less frightening than some stories would lead you to believe. Here's why.

We're used to this when surfing the Web, right? We evaluate programs before we download them. We look to see how many other people are using things and what kind of reviews they're leaving. If something seems shady, we click away.

The Android Market is no different; in fact, it makes the process even easier: You have the benefit of being able to see verified information about an app right on your screen. You can see how many people have installed it, what they're saying about it, and -- most important -- exactly what permissions it'll be able access on your phone.

If you don't want to entrust those judgments to yourself, like with the Web, there's no shortage of third-party programs that can do the policing for you. These utilities -- Lookout's antivirus software and other similar apps -- watch what you download and alert you when something questionable comes up. That kind of safety net isn't necessarily something you need with Android, but if makes you feel more comfortable, it's certainly available.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Threats are everywhere. The answer isn't locking down the world; it's taking basic precautions. With freedom of choice comes a small level of responsibility -- and whether we're talking about the Web or talking about our smartphones, the tradeoff is almost always worth it in the end.


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