It’s Official, Half of Cell Phones in U.S. Are Now Smartphones

April 16, 2012

New data from Nielsen shows that half (49.7%) of U.S. mobile subscribers have converted to smartphones, a 38% increase over February 2011, when only 36% of mobile subscribers used smartphones.

Nielsen’s research also shows that Android remains the leading cell phone platform with 48% of the U.S. smartphone market, followed by 32.1% who use an Apple iPhone, and 11.6% who remain Blackberry owners.

Up until last week, I was among the diehard Blackberry users, but I’ve purchased an iPhone and will never look back.

As a further indication of the imminent demise of Blackberry, their stock has plummeted.

Among consumers who acquired their smartphone within the last three months, 48% surveyed said they chose an Android and 43% bought an iPhone.

Not only was Blackberry absent, so was any mention of Windows phones.

In the now two-horse race, the rising frustration by developers and users of the Android platform indicates their market lead over Apple is far from assured. From a safety perspective, choosing Apple and Apple apps is the best bet.



Most Users with Free Android Antivirus Scanners aren’t Protected

November 30, 2011

Many free AV apps exist for the Android market but new comparisons by AV-TEST, a globally recognized security institute out of Germany, uncovered sobering security failures when they took the AV products through their paces.

The products to come out best were for-pay services from “Kaspersky and F-Secure, which detected at least 50% of all malware samples already in inactive state.”

Among the free options “Zoner AntiVirus Free was best with 32% detected malicious apps. All other scanners detected at best 10% of the apps; some didn’t detect anything at all.” Commenting on the results AV-Test said, ‘the circulation of obviously near to useless security apps endangers those, who trust them.’

AV-TEST’s test results are shocking, particularly as the advice given by security experts is that all smartphone users need anti-malware software in place. Yet those who diligently installed one of these free programs, has an entirely false sense of security.

The program with the lion’s share of installations is Antivirus Free by Creative Apps who, along with GuardX Antivirus and LabMSF Antivirus beta, failed to identify any malware in either the manual or real-time on installation scan.

Not only should these ineffectual products be purged from the Android market, there should be a howl of protest from consumers insisting that apps claiming to protect consumers actually do so – and be required to show how well they protect in their descriptions.

Below are two tables from the research, click here to read the entire report.


Twenty-Five New Malicious Apps on Android; 30,000 to 120,000 Users Affected

May 31, 2011

Criminal interest in Google’s Android platform appears to be increasing. In March Google had to remove more than 50 malicious mobile apps from their Android Market for exploiting as many as 250,000 consumers information and downloading malware known as Droid Dream (see my blog More Mobile Apps Caught Inappropriately Collecting User Info and Installing Malware for more on that outbreak).

Now security experts from Lookout Security, have identified 25 new malicious applications in the Android Market (since removed) that have potentially damaged somewhere between 30k-120k users. This is a variant on the original malware launched in March, and Lookout believes it has been launched by the same malware developers according to a news article in Forbes.

Droid users beware

This won’t be the last outbreak on Android Apps for two reasons; money, and ease of inclusion.

With Android enjoying 53% of the mobile market the revenue potential for criminals is huge.  Add to this the awareness that Google does less than other mobile platforms to test products offered through their market place, and you’ve got a scenario ripe for exploitation. Android users who aren’t careful about what they download now have a red target on their backs.

In this outbreak, legitimate applications were copied, had malware inserted, and then posted to the Android marketplace so it is critical that if you’ve downloaded one of the apps listed below that you check who is listed as the developer. According to the Forbes article, if the developer listed is Magic Photo Studio, Mango Studio, E.T. Tean, or BeeGoo you phone may be infected:

  • Sexy Girls: Hot Japanese
  • Sexy Legs
  • HOT Girls 4
  • Beauty Breasts
  • Sex Sound
  • Sex Sound: Japanese
  • HOT Girls 1
  • HOT Girls 2
  • HOT Girls 3
  • Floating Image Free
  • System Monitor
  • Super StopWatch and Timer
  • System Info Manager
  • Call End Vibrate
  • Quick Photo Grid
  • Delete Contacts
  • Quick Uninstaller
  • Contact Master
  • Brightness Settings
  • Volume Manager
  • Super Photo Enhance
  • Super Color Flashlight
  • Paint Master

Defend Your Phone!

Users need to stay vigilant by always checking to see who has developed an app and what their reputation is. Look at reviews they’ve received and only download apps from sources that have a strong history and trust rating.

Lookout Security also recommends that you check the permissions the app is requesting, be aware of any unusual behavior on your phone and install a mobile security app.

To see a listing of top mobile security products, and gain a deeper understanding of mobile malware risks, see my blog It’s No Accident – Mobile Money and Mobile Malware Set to Go Big in 2011.