In the desktop world, anti-virus is a must have for many platforms. The same is not as true when it comes to mobile.
“If you want to talk about anti-virus for phones it doesn’t make sense,” Security researcher, Charlie Miller said. “The way that phones are made, apps are downloaded with privileges on purpose.”
Miller explained that both Google and Apple already do anti-virus scanning on everything that goes through their respective app stores. They both, in varying degrees, can also remove apps from a user’s device if at some point malware is detected.
Yet vendor app store anti-virus scanning is not perfect.
Miller cited some research into Google’s Bouncer anti-virus App Store scanning technology. Bouncer works by emulating a phone. Miller argues that malware code is able to detect the emulation and simply not execute its payload when running under emulation.
“So inside of Bouncer, the app will be well behaved and then on the real phone it will do something nasty,” Miller said. “On the real phone it could download stuff and run it, cause that’s something that Android apps can do.”