Is antivirus really necessary?

Discussion in 'Android Applications' started by andrewdoane, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. LordKastle
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    LordKastle New Member

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    The Android OS is Unix based. The same reason why Macs are less likely to get viruses compared to Windows PCs is the same reason why the Android OS is less likely to get a virus. It is much more difficult to corrupt an operating system based on Unix.

    That being said...well it is very unlikely in current times it is not impossible. Nothing is impossible.

    Edit: Unix based
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  2. konstructa
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    konstructa New Member

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    Actually being "Linux based" does not really have anything to do with it and OSX is not "Linux based" it's Unix based. There is a difference. Actually some of the first root kits were Unix based.. They even have cross platform virus's now which is crazy. Look I love the android project and I am not trying to knock it, but realized how much information is on these phones (My first smartphone) and it's scary. The point is to be careful and treat it like you would any other computer. I have a feeling alot of people are going to be using android and that means a market for malware.
  3. WolfMan69
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    WolfMan69 New Member

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    For what it's worth.. what I have seen almost daily (with IPhones.. no Droids yet..) is that people will transfer infected mp3s or files to their phones.. then bring them into work and plug them into their work PC to charge it.. and BAM! I get a virus alert on the AV Console cause the AV on the PC scanned the phone as it would a removable drive.

    So the infected file did not infect the phone.. but would have infected the work PC if not for the AV running... all this also means the employees home PC was obviously already infected. :icon_eek:

    I'm assuming with Droids.. the user would have to "mount" the SD card first for the AV to see it... since we do not allow picture phones at work.. that will probably not happen anytime soon. We also don't allow people to charge "anything" via their PCs but those silly users still attempt it.. :icon_ devil:
  4. LordKastle
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    LordKastle New Member

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    Konstructa it would be extremely rare to get a virus on the Android OS or Mac OS at the moment (Linux or Unix). Like I said, it is general knowledge in today's terms that an antivirus software isn't even needed on an a Mac computer (but no OS is impenetrable just very unlikely) but this is because it has been much easier to attack the Windows OS. (As you said it is Unix based, but Android is Linux based)

    Windows viruses will not affect the Android OS unless there are extremely complex codes written. But...nothing is invincible. (Linux viruses exist but there are very few and you have a greater chance of stepping outside your door and being on the moon than you do from having a cross-platform Windows/Linux virus.)

    But this is not Windows...and trust me when you hear the excuse that "Windows is used by a lot more people than Mac OS so that is why viruses exist", that is garbage. There are plenty of people trying to cause wide-spread havoc on all devices...it is just harder to accomplish.

    If you go back and re-read my post I never said it was impossible, on the contrary I said nothing is impossible.

    At most you'll have on an Android OS right now is software that snoops aka "key loggers", etc... nothing attacking the OS and causing hardware failure.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
  5. EntropikOne
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    EntropikOne New Member

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    LordKastle I am in no way saying that you are incorrect, i'm just stating my point of view when i say it is indeed true that windows has more viruses because it is more prominent in the market...but just because an operating system is unix based does not really mean it is more secure than windows. in fact i believe the MAC operating system is the EASIEST to hack into. it's not the unix code that makes linux secure, it's the people that use the code that make it secure. windows security faults i think is majorly due to sloppy coding of the operating system but apple's faults are purely neglect in that they just try to put things together that look good to make money, and as long as it "looks" good, it is good, and they push it out. for example, remember when the iphone came out? and you can take full control over it through a simple text message flaw?? well.....that is just my opinion on the subject, so yes i think antivirus is important for the device, especially those of us running root privileges
  6. Oldride
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    Oldride New Member

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    Thanks guys for the information on the Anti-Virus software. I had the free Droid Anti-virus (Insecurity Inc.) and had to uninstall it last night. It kept restarting my phone and sending multiple messages when I text. I'm not going to worry about installing anti-virus software until I hear there is a problem and I have to. :motdroidhoriz:
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2010
  7. czerdrill
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    czerdrill New Member

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    You're not going to get a virus on a Linux kernel based OS, and downloading an antivirus for it is about as useful as getting training wheels for your tv. There are no viruses on Android, and honestly there most probably won't ever be.

    /thread. Seriously.
  8. maciejc85
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    maciejc85 New Member

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    Not worth the battery and memory drain
  9. Martin030908
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    Martin030908 DF Super Moderator

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    ...and not to mention the anti-virus is going to scan every action on your device causing it to LAG! no need for the anti-virus.
  10. bearman
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    bearman New Member

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    My 2 cents:

    I'm currently researching AV/malware protection for my Droid and plan to deploy as soon as I find a product that meets my needs and comes from a source that can be verified as being legitimate.

    Konstructa mentioned that "some of the first root kits were Unix based". Actually, the very first root kits were Unix based.
    Speaking of root, how did we get root access on our device? Someone found a vulnerability that we have exploited to run code of our choice. Guess what - malware writers do the same thing.

    Many have stated that Android doesn't need AV because it is Linux based. I've even heard a number of colleagues state the same thing when approached by management asking about AV on Unix servers.
    But a common flaw in that thinking is this: most malware anymore doesn't even target the OS. Rather, it targets the applications such as the web browser, email client, Java, Acrobat, Quicktime, etc. Anyone out there avoiding those apps?
    Anyone stating we won't ever need protection is just burrying their head in the sand.

    My bottom line:
    Just because there are no known viruses or malware targeting our beloved platform at the moment is no reason not to research and support tools to protect our platform and the data stored therein.
  11. czerdrill
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    czerdrill New Member

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    I don't think (or at least I hope) that anyone's contention is that Linux can't get viruses or can't be compromised somehow. Any computer, any OS, anything in the world that connects to the Internet can be compromised. However, the odds of your Linux system being compromised are almost slim to none and to be honest, you'd almost have to allow it to get infected. You left off some important things:

    Sure, malware targets applications such as browser, acrobat etc, but most (not all) binaries which are downloaded to a linux system wont be executable by default. In other words, if you link to some binary on the net, or if some rogue application downloads a binary, it's not going to result in an automatic execution on your system (unlike Windows), hence the "This application uses" screen before you install an app, and the "Trust 3rd party" checkbox.

    Second, even if you do run a package from an attachment and even if you do put in your sudo password (or in this case run as root), you're still going to be told that this is from an untrusted/unsigned source and you have to make the decision to proceed. Again, you'd have to essentially try to infect your system if you download some rogue app from a third party that you know nothing about.

    Third, most linux targeted viruses can't self-replicate so again it's essentially you attempting to infect your system.

    If you download a binary from www.removedlink.com called "GetPeoplesCreditCardInformation.apk", run it at root, trust it, and install it and your system gets infected, that's a user flaw and not a Linux flaw.

    I have no intention to install any antivirus on my Linux systems, or my phone as it is unnecessary. Can Linux/Android be compromised? Absolutely. Is it likely that you're going to get compromised by downloading an app from a malicious coder? Yes, if you agree to all the security warnings that are presented to you before you install. There are far too many checks done before something actually executes, and I would honestly blame the user if he/she managed to somehow mess up their system.

    If I'm completely wrong about this, someone please correct me, but I'm pretty sure I'm not haha...
  12. bearman
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    bearman New Member

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    Malware that targets the apps doesn't have to be a system executable binary. For example, quicktime and PDF files are not system executable but can still have nasty surprises.

    Also, you don't necessarily have to allow an app to have root access in order for the app to receive root access. We have heard of vulnerabilities in various authentication and crypto modules (isc.sans.org mentions an Ubuntu PAM vulnerability just this morning). Applications can exploit these vulnerabilities to gain root access just as we did. Such an app can easily come from visiting a web page with malicious javascript or java or flash.
    You may say don't visit malicious sites. Better stay away from most of the Internet then, as any site that takes input such as comments can be infected with XSS.

    I agree that a 'Nix based OS is more resilient and currently not heavily targeted, but I still believe that we would be foolish to not investigate and prepare some defenses now.
  13. Backnblack
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    Backnblack Premium Member Premium Member

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    At this time the only thing an AV app would do is use battery and resources.
    Totally not needed.
  14. Waveraider
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    Waveraider New Member

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    OK, i'm new to this and have a stupid question. I'm using an exchange server to get work email on my Droid Inc. Can I send a virus to my computer from my droid through Outlook?
  15. czerdrill
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    czerdrill New Member

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    haha, well yeah if you want to preach gloom and doom then yes by all means stay away from the Internet. The reality is, your phone is not going to get a virus, and antivirus apps on android are about the most useless apps on the market.

    of course, it is your phone so you can install whatever app on it that makes you happy :)
  16. czerdrill
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    czerdrill New Member

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    Yes. If you send an infected file from your Droid to an email address and open it on a Windows computer, the windows computer can be affected. Because the virus/infection would have been written for a windows machine. Your droid won't be affected because it can't run that code, but the windows machine will.

    To clarify...this is a file that contains a Windows infection. There are no Droid viruses out in the wild.
  17. Waveraider
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    Waveraider New Member

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    Czerdrill, Can the droid send a virus to Outlook from surfing the internet?
  18. czerdrill
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    czerdrill New Member

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    That I dont' know. You mean like automatically send a file while you're surfing? I doubt it. But if you're on some site that you can send files to an email address I guess it would work. Although why wouln't you just use your email client to do that haha...
  19. AVanover5
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    AVanover5 New Member

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    Linux isn't hack-free for everyone that thinks that. I can create a virus on the computer that copies a worm tailored to the modified Android Linux OS which spreads to other phones through bluetooth if I wanted to. It's not that hard. So I use anti-virus...

    Source: use to be a black hat hacker.
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