The Security Detail

Dec 15 2011   11:41AM GMT

Microsoft Exploits Android Malware to Promote WP7

Tony Bradley Tony Bradley Profile: Tony Bradley

Android is under fire from all sides. It has the attention of mobile malware developers, and now Microsoft is hoping to capitalize on recent Android malware news as a marketing stunt for Windows Phone 7.

Google’s mobile operating system has skyrocketed to the top of the smartphone heap, and has a rising share in the tablet market, which makes it a prime target for mobile malware. It’s relatively open nature, and the ability for malicious apps to get pushed through Android app stores also makes it potentially more vulnerable. In a recent report, McAfee found that mobile malware overall is exploding, and that Android was the sole target for all mobile malware detected in the most recent quarter.

In the past week, a number of fraudulent apps–part of the RuFraud family–have been detected and pulled from the Android Market by Google. These apps pose as legitimate, popular apps and trick users into spending money on SMS text messages.

Microsoft is trying to use all of this to its marketing advantage. It is seeking Android malware horror stories and will award Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” smartphones to the five worst ones. It is a bit of a marketing gamble, though, because it is like throwing stones in a glass house. If any similar security concerns are found on Windows Phone 7, the ploy could backfire.

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