Dr. Droid: Why You Don't Need an Anti-Virus on Android (RE: Norton for Android)

So, Droid-Life.com broke the story on Symantec, the makers of the ever popular universally hated PC anti-virus / firewall / internet security suite, waste of memory called NORTON. And how they plan on introducing an Android client of their wonderful application.

Check out Droid-Life.com’s full post, and my thoughts on why this is a horrible idea after the break!

Here’s the post from Droid-Life.com

It was only a matter of time before Symantec and their line of internet security products found a way onto mobile devices. They plan to introduce Norton Smartphone Security for Android in the coming weeks, a service which could give WaveSecure and Lookout a run for their money.

Here are the highlights pulled from Norton’s Android site…
Prevents strangers from using your mobile device in case of loss or theft

Remotely locks your mobile device if it’s stolen so thieves can’t use it and run up your bill
Instantly locks your mobile device if its SIM card is removed, so it can’t be used with another SIM card
Protects your privacy and the personal information on your mobile device

Prevents access to your private information if your mobile device is lost or stolen
Remotely erases all information from your mobile device, if you choose
Lets you block annoying and unwanted calls and text messages
Eliminates mobile threats before they can cause you problems

Detects and removes threats and forbidden files without affecting your mobile device’s performance
Scans all the files and app updates you download to your mobile device for threats
We’ve seen the remote locking feature on other apps, but the “block annoying and unwanted calls and text messages” is something that has me interested. Your thoughts?
This should be available in the Android market sometime in the near future. With a name like “Norton” attached, would you be willing to pay for it?
Visit http://www.norton.mobi from your phone’s browser to check for download availability.
Source: Symantec

So, it’s time for Dr. Droid to step in here and explain why this is just stupid and un-needed.

So, you know how they say Mac’s don’t have virus’s right? (which is true…fyi), and Windows based products are the virus ridden whores of the computer world. Right? Okay, so we’re up to speed.

There’s a reason for that. Market share. If you go into Best Buy, you see their entire computer section devoted to Windows, and a small tablet with maybe 8 Apple products. Why? Because the VAST MAJORITY of the computer industry is Windows based, unfortunately. (if only the whole world could make the jump, we’d be in such a better place….). If the tables were turned, and Best Buy was a sprawling cavern of unibody white Apple products, with a handful of Windows based products, Mac’s would most likely be the virus ridden whores of the tech world.

Simple logic is this: You want your product (in this case, a virus) to reach the most people, so you’re going to send it to where the most people are (Windows). If you’re a band, and everyone and their mother was still on MySpace, than you’d whore your music on MySpace more so than Facebook. See my point?

So, now what does this have to do with Android? Well, there are three desktop computer OS’s. Windows (in 3 different incarnations), Apple OS X Snow Leopard, and Linux.

Smartphones? There’s A LOT more choices out there. The smartphone industry itself isn’t a standalone industry like the computer world. It’s a niche category of the wider cellphone picture. While that niche category is steadilly growing by the day, it’s still a minority when it comes to the overall cell phone world (for now).

Now, Virus’s are written for SPECIFIC OPERATING SYSTEMS and written via SPECIFIC SOURCE CODES. This is computer programming 101. This is why I can go to NoDQ.com (a popular pro-wrestling site, NOTORIOUS for Adware and Trojans raping users of the site) on my Windows, and except my HP Laptop to explode, where as my Macbook is fine. Said virus’s are written to effect Windows based source codes. They’re written to search under the C:\ Drive, and look through specific driver folders. Source codes, driver folders and drives that OS X simply does not have.

Now, you take the category of smartphones, and it can pretty much be split into 3 sub categories:

  1. Basic Feature Phones (ie: LG VX5500, Motorola RAZR, Samsung Knack, etc)
  2. Multimedia Phones (ie: LG Dare, Samsung Reality, LG enVTouch / enV3)
  3. Smartphones (ie: iPhone, Blackberry, WindowsPhone, Android, Palm, etc)

You take sub-category 3, which would be Smartphones, and you have to split THAT category up by operating system:

  • Apple
    • OS X 3 for iPhone / iPod Touch /iPad
    • OS 4 for iPhone (Summer 2010, launching with the iPhone 4, and eventually will be on the 3G, 3Gs, and iPad)
  • Android
    • Android 1.5
    • Android 1.6
    • Android 2.0
    • Android 2.1
    • Android 2.2
  • Blackberry
    • OS 4.x (Curve 83xx, World 88xx, etc)
    • OS 5.x (Storm, Storm2, Tour, Curve 85xx, Bold, etc)
    • OS 6.x (upcoming Storm3, Blackberry Bold Slider, etc)
  • Windows Phone
    • Windows Mobile 6.1 (HTC Touch Pro / Touch Diamond, Palm Tro Pro,)
    • Windows Mobile 6.5  (LG Fathom, HTC Touch Pro 2, Samsung Omnia 2)
    • Windows Phone 7 Series (upcoming Windows devices from LG, Samsung, and others)
  • Palm
    • Palm OS (Treo 7xxP, Centro)
    • WebOS (Palm Pre / Pixi, upcoming HP Devices)
  • Nokia
    • Symbian^3 (current crop of Nokia devices)
    • Symbian^4 (2010 and beyond for Nokia)
    • Maemo (Nokia’s OTHER OS)
  • Samsung
    • Bada (Upcoming Samsung Wave)

so thats what? 19 operating systems currently available in the smartphone world. Let me say that again


And those are just off the top of my head too. There are 19 different OS’s available for Smartphones. The sub-category within the cellphone industry is so amazingly segregated, that it would take too much time or effort to make a virus compatible for all, or even MOST of these platforms. While you can make the arguement that the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows are the most widely used operating systems as far as smartphones go, so they would be prime targets. I again make the statement that each OS in itsself has 2-3 different versions under its belt-AT LEAST (in the case of our Green friend,  5. Seriously. Five.) Yes, that does make a difference. If you recall, everyone (myself included) said Windows Me was the safest, most secure Windows Variant on the market, because it used a different source code than all other versions of Windows. It still sucked (even by Windows Standards. Not Vista suck, but still sucked)-but the point is, that most virus’s were rendered useless against its alternate source code.

So back to my original point: I can’t think of any computer programmers who would be willing to invest that time and effort into something, that does NOTHING for them, just gives them kicks for messing up peoples stuff. It’s just simple common sense.

So go delete that Anti-Virus app from your Droid. Seriously, it’s a waste of space and is probably causing more damage to your phone than its helping.

Catch ya next time!

Sincerly, Dr. Droid

This has been a special presentation of Dr. Droid, written by “Droid Does” writer John “Pariah” Olesen. You can see John’s work at Team-Android, BestAndroidAppsReview and Pariah’s Voice You can follow him on Twitter @johnpariah. He’s awesome.

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3 Responses to “Dr. Droid: Why You Don't Need an Anti-Virus on Android (RE: Norton for Android)”

  1. teamandroid Says:

    Proctecting private files when stolen sounds good,why wouldnt we dont need that? didnt fully explain.

    • johnpariah Says:

      Except Norton’s programs bog your system down to unbearable status. As far as backing up your info, Google auto backs up your contacts / apps. You can backup your apps to your SD card with MyBackUp Pro, or even ASTRO FIle Manager, and there are a handful of auto-wipe apps in the marketplace that work better than Norton

  2. teamandroid Says:


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