Malware is everywhere. That isn’t going to change. Get over it. If malware prevents you from doing what you want with today’s technology, then stop what you’re doing, ditch what you’re using, head to an Apple Store and pick up a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.
Everything else is just too risky to use.
Wait. What? Whoa! Macs get malware, too, right? I’m sure I read articles about some malware getting into Apple’s App Stores, right? The correct answer is here is, “Yes. And no.” Every device connected to the interwebs– and many that are hidden and supposed secure from outside infection– is capable of receiving malware and being a malware victim.
There are only two viable ways to minimize your exposure to the effects of malware on modern, 21st century computing devices; desktop, notebook, handheld, et al.
Off The Grid – Let’s face it, this is about as safe as you can be, but you don’t get any of the benefits of being online (which seem to be diminishing each day), either. Your stuff won’t get hacked or compromised because you won’t really have any stuff. Simply losing a connection to the internet won’t do because CDs and DVDs are passé, and any sneaker net system if fraught with peril, too. Buy some land, build a shack, dig a hole for sanitation, stock up on food and toilet paper, install solar panels, and say goodbye to mankind and malware.
Apple Store – Let’s assume you’re among the few billion or so people with devices connected to the internet. Researchers say about 10-billion devices are being used online these days. If you value your online life, drop whatever Windows PC or Android smartphone you’re using and head to the Apple Store for replacements. That’s about the only other way to have a safe online presences in the face of a growing flood of malware.
Among app stores there are a few camps. Apple’s iOS App Store and the Mac App Store, both highly curated; a place to find apps mostly devoid of malware. There’s also Google’s Play Store which does not have a sterling reputation for security, but often becomes a repository and dispensary for malware. The SonicSpy malware is a good example.
The malware can silently record calls and audio, take photos, make calls, send text messages to numbers specified by the attackers, monitor calls logs and contacts and monitor information about Wi-Fi access points… Marketed as a messaging application, the malware performs the advertised messaging function in order to avoid users getting suspicious of the download, while all the while stealing their data and transferring it to a command and control server.
Three versions of SonicSpy were found on Google’s Play Store, along with a few thousand other spyware apps. Do you think Google found all of them? That’s what they said last year and the year before.
Spyware and malware applications are running rampant on Android devices and Windows PCs with almost no end in sight. It’s a jungle out there and it’s beginning to looks as if there are only two ways to deal with it. Get out of the jungle entirely. Or, adopt a new life as an Apple citizen.
All the criticism through the years about Apple’s closed ecosystem, the curated Disneyland-esque walled garden looks like so much noise these days.