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The upside of having an open-door policy in a mobile operating system is that it allows smart, skilled and hard-working developers to enter the application marketplace without jumping through hoops to reach users. The downside is that it’s just as easy for deceitful, dangerous and malicious malware proprietors to target users.
Android security has long been an issue among the faithful adopters of the mobile OS. In fact, more than 32.8 million Android devices were infected with malware according to a 2012 study by NQ Mobile.
But many Android security issues could be dealt with if users would upgrade the OS regularly and more carefully select which apps to download.
“I think Google needs to come in and…put in tighter restrictions on what kind of apps can be available and uploaded and the system security settings on those apps,” Taylor said.
He also urged users to take ownership of their device’s security by installing malware scanners and being selective about the apps that they download on their Android phones and tablets.
While the open nature of Google’s app marketplace means nearly anyone can upload an app to millions of Android users in one fell swoop, he points out that from a OS-standpoint, Android has strong checks and balances to prevent hostile software takeovers.
“Google's Android system is a very locked down, security-conscious system,” Taylor said. “Meaning that the apps need the permissions of the system to be able to do anything outside of those permissions. So if it doesn't give it permission to access your email, the app isn't going to access your email.”
In other words, for the 16 percent of lawyers using Android smartphones, according to a 2012 ABA Tech Survey, the key to mobile security is to keep an eye out for the bad bots and choose your apps wisely.