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Do smartphones need anti-virus software?





welshsteve
Hi everyone. I'm about to get a brand new smartphone, and was wondering whether the security risks are high enough to consider putting anti virus protection on the phone. Do smartphones need anti-virus software? I see that Kaspersky, AVG and Norton are all advertising their smart phone products recently, I just wondered what the general stance is by the manufacturers and providers.

If I stick to safe websites and the dedicated app stires such as Android Market, Ovi store and iTunes I would have thought they'd screen everything before publishing it?
cybersa
Yes Smartphone need good anti-virus.

Recently Android phone had a attack of malware.
Google deleted that app on the market.

In my opinion yes.
Helios
Smartphones are genuine computers with communication features.
Like your own personal computer, your smartphone will benefit from a good anti-virus.
It doesn't matter that the operating system is not Windows. It's been a long time now since mobile phones stopped being mobile phones, but instead became mobile computers.
Ankhanu
The advantage of most smartphone OSes that I've had any decent exposure to is that anti-virus is largely unnecessary. They have access features more in line with classic Unix security requirements than, say, a Windows computer generally has had... in other words, the user has to give each application permission to access/install on the phone, they can't install themselves. This is the same reason why there are so few Linux and Mac viruses... they can be made, but it's so much harder to get them running on remote systems.

If you get a smartphone virus, you only have yourself to blame for giving it permission to install Wink

With that in mind, antivirus software is kind of redundant. It might be available, but the system resource costs would outweigh the benefits, imo. Just like there's anti-virus software available for Linux and Mac, but they're not really needed with a little bit of care.
Helios
Ankhanu wrote:
The advantage of most smartphone OSes that I've had any decent exposure to is that anti-virus is largely unnecessary. They have access features more in line with classic Unix security requirements than, say, a Windows computer generally has had... in other words, the user has to give each application permission to access/install on the phone, they can't install themselves. This is the same reason why there are so few Linux and Mac viruses... they can be made, but it's so much harder to get them running on remote systems.

If you get a smartphone virus, you only have yourself to blame for giving it permission to install Wink

With that in mind, antivirus software is kind of redundant. It might be available, but the system resource costs would outweigh the benefits, imo. Just like there's anti-virus software available for Linux and Mac, but they're not really needed with a little bit of care.


Keep in mind that today there are, imo, more smartphone users than linux users and even if not today then in the future there will be for sure. Those black-hat developers shouldn't be underestimated. Maybe I'm not so optimistic, but I think that viruses targeting smartphone OSes will pop out in the near future like amanita phalloides after the rain.
Ankhanu
Oh, no, I agree. They WILL be developed. My point is that we, as users, are the only real gateway into the system; we have to give the viruses permission to do their thing, unlike with, say a Windows computer where a virus can, in certain cases, run itself without any user input. This is where the Linux/Mac comparison comes from, as the situation is the same with those OSes (though antivirus software is available for each, it's largely redundant).
Rajiev
I only have limited exposure into Unix kernel behavior and only have a slight above the average knowledge on OSes.

that being said, I think Antiviruses is not a thing to die for at the moment. If you have a dual core snap dragon that can run over 1GZ, Ya then you can go for one Anti Virus Software. But It will be looking for and preparing to kill Crocodiles in your bathtub :p

Since welshsteve has a Android device and its kernel is a Unix/Linux based one, I think you are safe for now. I don't think you would want to burden your nice smooth running phone with a resource hungry Anti Virus Software. It'll sure make your life hard and make you hate your phone for hanging :p

Further more, If your smartphone got a virus, its a lot easy to do a Hard reset these days or even flash the phone and put the OS all over.

I won't hurry to put one in my phone, IMHO
weableandbob
It's always good to have some sort of anti-virus, no matter what operating system or device you are using (so long as it is available; consoles, for example, have no anti-virus programs you can download).
welshsteve
Thanks for all the input guys, it's much appreciated.

My phone does run fast and smooth, and the linux kernel's very design does make it diificult to infect with a virus, so for now at least I will keep my phone as it is and steer clear of anti virus products for it.
SultanMA
I'm using Android. for my phone and my tablet (Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 honeycomb)

And really i didn't what is the virus Very Happy
NitNik
For Android are some viruses in the wild, so i would use an antivirus (even a firewall is available, too). On another mobile os is the virus problematic more theoretical.

In my opinion are the in-app-ads more problematic than the viruses. This ads can create extremely high costs when you click on them. For rooted Androids are some ad-blocker available, i would use them. Wink

@welshsteve: It's not so hard like you think. Android depends on a linux kernel, that's right, but it's also inside a java vm. You could attack java without attacking the linux kernel. And java is not really THAT safe thing... Mad
Linux is only safe, because it's not so much used on private computers (on servers it's as much attacked as windows servers). But Android is a very popular piece of software, so it wouldn't surprising me if we'll see much virus releases for Android (and iOS...) in the next weeks, months and years.
emanuel2
yes, I also think that it is just a matter of time, when the first weaves of mobile phone viruses arive
NitNik
emanuel2 wrote:
yes, I also think that it is just a matter of time, when the first weaves of mobile phone viruses arive


They're even arrived, inside some infected apps. I'm sure, we'll see viruses for iOS too. Maybe Maemo/MeeGo and WebOS will be the linux under the mobile systems, without less popularity and less virus problems?
kirii
i personally don't think anti virus is needed..
I'm using iPhone now,as long as you don't jailbreak it,no other app can run without passing through Apps Store.
For android,i'm not so sure,but so far my friends did not complain about any virus that infected their phones.Just be careful while downloading the apps and read the review first before purchasing any apps.
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