Google shuts down claims Android is infested with malware

Apple has taken a few jabs at Android over the years, the latest being Tim Cook’s slide on mobile malware at the Worldwide Developer Conference. Cook claimed 99 per cent of malware came from Android.

A year later, Google has finally responded with proof Cook’s claims were overblown. In an ‘Android Security: 2014 Year in Review’ report, Google goes over every part of security and how Android is safe from almost all threats.

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Malware attacks are particularly interesting, put under potentially harmful applications (PHA). On Google Play, the number of PHA downloads is below 0.15 per cent; outside of Google Play that number jumps to 0.75 per cent.

Google documented the worst affected regions, finding Russia was the worst for PHA apps with 3.75 per cent. China managed similar numbers, due to both regions loading apps from outside of the Google Play store frequently.

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The Chinese government blocked the Google Play store, giving way to less trustworthy sites that may not run tests to see if applications are free from viruses. Russia, due to the language barrier, has several third-party app providers outside of Google Play.

For the most part Google has been able to continue cutting the amount of malware and dangerous apps on Android throughout 2014, cumulating in one of the safest mobile services due to the inability to download apps without first rooting the device.

Even with rooting, Google still offers support for Android users to make sure the harmful apps do not penetrate the smartphone. It has worked over the course of 2014 to identify hundreds of potential viruses and make sure they are stopped at the root.

Apple has not released similar details on its own iOS store, but we suspect Google and Apple have similar numbers on official store malware. When it comes to performance, there are plenty of articles to suggest Android Lollipop is much quicker than iOS, but that might be stopped on iOS 9 with the launch of several bug fixes and performance enhancements.