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Windows Phone 8 is much safer than Android, says Mikko Hypponen

Microsoft's mobile operating system should remain safe for a while
Mon Nov 05 2012, 13:21
Nokia Lumia 610 running Windows Phone Tango

SOFTWARE HOUSE Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 is the safest mobile operating system available, according to F-Secure security chief Mikko Hypponen, who added that Android remains a haven for cyber crimianls.

Hypponen highlighted the inherent security features of Windows Phone 8, telling The INQUIRER that F-Secure has yet to detect a single piece of mobile malware targeting Microsoft's mobile operating system.

"Windows Phone is safe, we've seen no malware at all targeting the platform. You want a safe phone? Buy a Windows Phone," Hypponen said.

Hypponen added that Windows Phone's lack of malware contrasted sharply with other mobile platforms.

"At the moment Windows Phone is the safest, there is more malware for BlackBerry and more malware for the Iphone and definitely more on Android."

Hypponen said Android remains the most targeted ecosystem, pointing to a marked increase in the number of malicious programs detected during the third quarter of 2012.

"The big news is the amount of malicious Android installation files we have seen in the labs. Quarter one, 3,000 installation files, quarter two, 5,000 installation files and quarter three, 51,000. So a 10-fold increase in malicious Android installations files."

Hypponen attributes the boom to Android's unregulated nature, with Google's policy of letting third-party stores distribute apps that run on the OS making it a popular system on which criminals across the world trick users into installing malware.

"Practically all of these are things people install themselves. The vast majority of the malware are Trojanised apps on third-party app stores," Hypponen told The INQUIRER.

"Criminals are being much more active in creating versions of existing malware on the Android platform now. Most are in China and link back to Chinese and Russian premium rate numbers."

In contrast, Hypponen predicted that Windows Phone will likely remain the safest mobile operating system, adding that its restrictive development policy should protect it from criminals for the foreseeable future.

"Windows Phone's security model inside is quite restrictive. I think it's going to take a while before we see Windows Phone being seriously targeted. I could be wrong, but my hunch says it will stay the safest," said Hypponen.

The news will be welcomed by Microsoft, which has touted its recently released Windows Phone 8 security features as a key selling point that will help it expand the mobile operating system's market share. µ


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