Antivirus software has taken a beating lately in the news, mostly because it has struggled to identify and contain some of the bigger malware attacks in recent months.
Antivirus Not Necessary on Smartphones?
Then there’s the realization that antivirus software isn’t much use to consumers who do much of their computing on smartphones. This is important, because so many consumers today read email messages, surf the Web and access social media through their smartphones. If antivirus software isn’t really helping these folks, then the antivirus industry is losing out on a load of potential customers.
Patrick Lambert, a writer for the TechRepublic blog, does a good job at explaining just why consumers needn’t bother with protecting their smartphones with antivirus software.
Smartphones vs. PCs
First, modern smartphones operate differently than do traditional PCs and laptops. On a smartphone, each app is provided with its own work environment and is not able to access the data contained in other apps. This is actually a nice security upgrade from the world of PCs and laptops. Malware that is just installed onto a smartphone will be able to do little harm.
So there’s the first strike against traditional antivirus software: there’s not as much need for it on a smartphone.
Secondly, because of the way smartphones work, antivirus software won’t be able to do much to combat any malware smartphone users do pick up. That’s because antivirus software won’t be able to scan multiple apps to look for trouble.
Smartphone Antivirus Programs
That hasn’t stopped companies from offering antivirus apps for smartphones. Lambert points to VirusBarrier, an antivirus program that smartphone users can purchase in Apple’s App Store. The problem is that the program doesn’t scan anything on a smartphone because it can’t. Consumers, then, who want to scan email attachments have to send it to VirusBarrier from within their mail program. This is not only aggravating, it’s also fairly useless.
Consumers should consider this good news. There really is no reason for them to waste their money on antivirus software for their smartphones.
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