Recent articles about how free anti-malware apps for Android fall short of expectations through a targeted study come as no surprise.


I’ve previously written a blog-entry of how I fell into a state of false hope when I expected a certain (unnamed but very popular) application to find the cause of my unwarranted high data usage, only to be told that everything was supposedly ‘clean’ on my device.

Asking a simple client based app to monitor and inspect everything going into and out of today’s smartphones and tablets (let alone PC’s connected via 3G or 4G sessions) is a tall order.

Vast amounts of incoming and outgoing data comprised of web requests (and resulting downloads), Twitter feeds and Facebook updates (including tinyURLs that mask the true destination of a web link), emails with attachments, SMS with a new language of acronyms and the plethora of application updates is a lot to handle for both the software and the device.

In fact, it’s been suggested that if a truly capable client app arrived in market checking every byte for potentially malicious content, your device would be too busy to allow you to make a call and your battery would last less than an hour.

In a world where over 24 hours of YouTube video is uploaded every minute, there is no denying that the transmission of data has surpassed forecasts. While we ponder this fact for a moment and reluctantly accept it, many still question that mobile malware is exploding exponentially also.

Sure, sometimes it seems like it is being a little overblown by the IT media pundits, but the fact is that your device – any device – has information that is valuable to cyber-criminals. Therefore it is an attractive target. More devices equals more data, and more data provides a goldmine for cyber-criminals.

While I don’t expect client applications to disappear from the app markets as a result of these studies, I do implore carrier and corporate security analysts – and everyday mobile subscribers – to understand and accept the limitations of such software. After all, as with many things in life, you get what you pay for.