If you know me (and most of you don't but let's pretend you do) - you know that I love technology. I mean, I really REALLY love it. It's hard for me to meet a technology I don't like. I shamelessly and eagerly buy every device, gadget or app that makes sense for me to know about (and even some that don't - like the Roku 3 that's still sitting in a box here on my desk). I buy all these things and learn how to use them so I can give firsthand advice when I'm talking to lawyers about technology.
My current collection includes a new Windows 8 Acer laptop with a touchscreen (I like it so much, it's replaced my MacBook as my day to day laptop), an iPhone, iPad, iPad Mini, a Lenovo Windows 8 Pro tablet, a Windows 8 Phone (the Nokia Lumia 920, which replaced my LG Thrill Android phone as my 2nd phone) and you don't even want to know what's in my tech dopp kit.
I kept hearing and reading about the latest Android operating system and wanted to be in-the-know (particularly got lured in by the idea of Google Now). So I picked up a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 and like it very much. It's a beautiful experience as far as the OS. I like the on-screen gadgets. And trying to figuring out how a lawyer could use it as much as they can an iPad to practice law has really stimulated my geeky brain (btw, NOT EVEN close in race, the iPad eats this thing's lunch). But I'm bummed because without my personal data on it, it's not much more than an e-reader and surfing device. I've not synced it with my Google accounts - which means no email, no calendar and no contacts on it - which also means Google Now is Google Not for me. So, why have I not loaded it with any of my personal information? Because I also keep reading and hearing about the security risks associated with the devices. A report from a company named F-Secure claims that Android accounts for 79% of mobile malware. It's reportedly the most widely used (notice I didnt say "popular") OS on the global market, so it makes statistical sense that it's the most riddled with malware. A post just last week titled Many Free Android Apps Are Starting To Look A Lot Like Malware falls just short of calling the issue a crisis.
A report from GData, a well known antivirus and security company in Europe, claims that on average, a new Android malware strain appears every two minutes. Notables from a recent Trend Micro report:
- Almost 300,000 apps are classified as outright malicious and a further 150,00+ classified as high risk.
- Of those 300,000+/- malicious apps, 69,000 were sourced directly from Google Play. (sooo, its NOT just Chinese and Russian app stores)
- 22% of apps were found to inappropriately leak user data
- The leaked data most often includes device data such as IMEI, ICCID as well as Contact data
- To make matters just generally worse - 32% of apps were classified as “Poor” in terms of battery usage, 24% “Poor” for network usage and 28% for memory usage
Most attorneys I know cart around plenty of confidential and priveleged information on their mobile devices. From documents to financial information to critical dates and contact info and of course, emails - it is their responsibility and ethical duty to protect that information in the absolute best way they can. With the unsurmountable and undeniable amount of data that exists on this issue, I just don't know how any attorney would want to use an Android as their main device.
My usual advice? get an iPhone. Yes, I'm a big fan of iPhones - and not just because they only account for 0.7% of all malware but more so because there are so many amazing, useful and productive products for legal professionals. But if for some reason you are not interested in using one of the most secure mobile devices on the planet, then I'd suggest taking a look at the other most secure platform - a Blackberry device. I've heard the new Blackberry is pretty cool (ha! Words I most certainly thought I would never utter after 2005). Or even take a look at a Windows 8 phone - but I'll tell you now, I don't love that OS, it's hard to use.
But what can you do if you just can't or don't want to let go of that Android?
- Start by reading this post from How To Geek about avoiding malware on your Android.
- Here's another good article - Here’s How To Really Keep Your Android Phone Clear Of Malware
- Be sure the "Allow Unknown Sources" option is disabled in your security settings menu to ensure that only apps delivered from Google Play may be installed on the device.
- Try to confirm that you DON'T have any malware by reviewing these Five Signs Your Android Device is Infected With Malware.
- At a minimum make sure you have the latest version of Android as it has more security features (maybe that means an upgrade to a new device! Yippee! Who doesn't love that?).