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Who Watches The Watchmen?

Before I get to my point, I want to repeat a story I've told before.  It's been a while, and I have new readers, so bear with me.

My mom, for some unknown reason, is a huge fan of Nancy Grace, a woman who makes me want to put a gun to my head.  One time, when I was supposed to meet them for dinner, I used my RAD kit to make a Linux app, the Nancy Grace Missing Toddler app.  It ran on my desktop, and I told my mom it activated when a child went missing and Grace was going to discuss it on her show.  The app went on alert at that moment, and sure enough, there was a missing child featured on Grace's show that night.  The truth, however, was that the app just went off at random intervals, and it was a complete coincidence that this happened.  But that didn't stop my mom from pestering me for a Windows version of the app.

I bring this up because of an Android app called Virus Shield.  As Android becomes the dominant operating system in the computing sphere, crackers have started targeting it with viruses and malware.  Google makes it way too easy for apps to get out of the sandbox and nab your data, and since they aren't trying so hard, others are coming up with anti-virus software to combat this stuff (anti-virus for a Linux-based OS.  Good going, Google).

Virus Shield was one of the most popular apps in this regard.  For $3.99, the app would display a shield icon with either an X to say malware had been detected or a checkmark to say you were clean.  It had more than 10,000 downloads and was #1 on the new paid apps chart, 4.7 star rating on Google Play.

Well, guess what?  Android Police just found out the software didn't do anything other than display the shield icon.  Literally.  They dove into the code.  There is not a single line that detects or eliminates malware.  It is a total scam.

This is supposedly why you should get your apps through Google Play instead of sideloading.  Most of your Android viruses and malware come from cracked software that gets sideloaded, but Google maintains that the stuff on Google Play is verified virus and malware free.  But thieves, instead of going after identity theft, are doing just fine going old school and selling the AV equivalent of snake oil.

If Google really wants a great reputation, they need some way to stop blatant scams like this from happening.  No wonder Linus kicked Android out of the Linux kernel repository.

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