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The DroidDream Malware Infestation: Google's Android Market is a Festering Cesspool

Mar 4 2011, 11:20am CST | by , in News | Android

The DroidDream Malware Infestation: Google's Android Market is a Festering Cesspool
 
 

50 More Infected Apps pulled from Market.

The Android Market has quickly grown into the App Store's only real competition. With 200,000 applications and as much developer interest as iOS, the Market is a real threat to Apple's dominance. But, successful as it is, the Android Market is a troubled thing.

While Apple demands total control of what goes in to their App Store, Google does very little to control the Market. They go on pruning sprees every now and then to remove malicious apps, but those apps don't stay away for long. There is no real oversight in the Market. Anyone can submit an app.


This openness has allowed the Market to grow by leaps and bounds in very short order...but it also means that Android apps are of generally lower quality. And are sometimes riddled with malware.

Take the DroidDream spyware threat. This nasty little bug was embedded in some fifty applications on the market. You can find a full list of the affected apps here.

What makes DroidDream so disturbing is where it was located: seemingly normal and functional apps, like Super Guitar Solo. Users could download one of these apps, enjoy them legitimately for days, and never realize that a bug was beaming their private data to a secret command and control server. This is the scary side of open.

The Android Market is basically a much nerdier version of the Wild West. And, as cool as that sounds, it isn't working out too well for the developers. Or for Google.

See, despite the Market's impressive growth (861% last year!) users still aren't willing to spend any money there. We just don't see the same sort of impulse app purchases among Android users that we do among iOS users. Hell, even the BlackBerry App World and the Nokia Ovi Store beat the App Market in revenue.

It isn't hard to see why. Given the lack of barriers to entry, and the expanding proliferation of spyware, you can't really trust the App Market. Until Google takes a few steps in Apple's direction, the Market will continue to fill with bugs. If you dig a swimming hole, fill it with water and leave the filtering up to mother nature, you get a cess pool. Google needs to buy one of those filter robots, and maybe hire a lifeguard, if they want anyone to actually dive in.

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