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Friday January 30th 2015

Trend Micro Chairman Questions the Security of Open Source Software





Trend Micro has been a prominent player on the security scene for many years, and now its chairman, Steve Chang, has drawn a big backlash from the open source community for apperently declaring open source software inherently less secure than proprietary software. In particular, Chang is quoted from an interview in Taipei saying that the Android operating system is significantly less secure than Apple’s iOS. Is there anything to his comments?

BusinessWeek quotes Chang from his Taipei interview:

"Android is open-source, which means the hacker can also understand the underlying architecture and source code. We have to give credit to Apple, because they are very careful about it. It’s impossible for certain types of viruses."

Chang isn’t the first person to question how secure open source software is. In surveys, corporate IT administrators frequently cite security concerns, lack of support and lack of documentation as reasons why they don’t adopt open source software, favoring proprietary offerings. However, many open source software products are actually more secure than proprietary competitors due to the benefit of "many eyeballs" in the development community.

Android is largely being implemented on smartphones by companies that customize it, including customizing the security on their phones. There are many different interfaces that sit on top of Android, such as Motorola’s MotoBlur. Chang’s comments about Android may have to do with selling security software for Android phones. This month, Trend Micro released Mobile Security for Android, a $3.99 security software product. As far as any necessary advice goes, The Digitizor blog makes the best points for Android users to keep in mind:

"If you are an Android user, just stick to apps from the market and sources you trust. Do no install shady .apks and grant unreasonable permission to apps."

 

 

 

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