You’ve probably seen articles inducing panic around the number of android devices vulnerable to this Quadrooter bug. But read through the below first.
Another day, another overblown Android security scare. Who’s ready for a reality check?
Guys, gals, aardvarks, fishes: I’m running out of ways to say this. Your Android device is not in any immediate danger of being taken over a super-scary malware monster.
It’s a silly thing to say, I realize, but we go through this same song and dance every few months: Some company comes out with a sensational headline about how millions upon millions of Android users are in danger (DANGER!) of being infected (HOLY HELL!) by a Big, Bad Virus™ (A WHAT?!) any second now. Countless media outlets (cough, cough) pick up the story and run with it, latching onto that same sensational language without actually understanding a lick about Android security or the context that surrounds it.
To wit: As you’ve no doubt seen by now, our latest Android malware scare du jour is something an antivirus software company called Check Point has smartly dubbed “Quadrooter” (a name worthy of Batman villain status if I’ve ever heard one). The company is shouting from the rooftops that 900 million (MILLION!) users are at risk of data loss, privacy loss, and presumably also loss of all bladder control — all because of this hell-raising “Quadrooter” demon and its presence on Qualcomm’s mobile processors.
“Without an advanced mobile threat detection and mitigation solution on the Android device, there is little chance a user would suspect any malicious behavior has taken place,” the company says in its panic-inducing press release.
Well, crikey: Only an advanced mobile threat detection and mitigation solution can stop this? Wait — like the one Check Point itself conveniently sells as a core part of its business? Hmm…that sure seems awfully coincidental.
TL;DR: A “mobile threat detection and mitigration solution” is already present on practically all of those 900 million Android devices. It’s a native part of the Android operating system called Verify Apps, and it’s been present in the software since 2012….. Android has had its own built-in multilayered security system for ages now. There’s the threat-scanning Verify Apps system we were just discussing. The operating system also automatically monitors for signs of SMS-based scams, and the Chrome Android browser keeps an eye out for any Web-based boogeymen.