Apple's Phil Schiller has been known to fire salvos at the competition using Twitter, and today he's back at it. In April of last year, the marketing chief notoriously claimed that Instagram had "jumped the shark" in its expansion to Android. And now he's again aiming his sights squarely at Google's mobile OS. "Be safe out there," reads Schiller's latest tweet, paired with a link that points to F-Secure's latest Mobile Threat Report.
The document, which has already received its fair share of coverage today (even before Schiller's tweet), makes Android's current security predicament seem like some kind of nightmare. "In the fourth quarter alone, 96 new families and variants of Android threats were discovered," it reads. Android's "threat share" also reportedly rose to 79 percent last year — a talking point that any marketing executive would naturally latch onto. Schiller's taunt makes total sense, but is it fair? Not entirely.
Real-world usage has shown time and again that when Android users exhibit common sense, the threat of malware and viruses isn't just extremely limited — it's almost non-existant. A vast majority of smartphone owners stick to Google Play (and to a lesser degree Amazon's Appstore) when downloading apps. Security threats do sometimes slip into these markets, but both companies are generally quick to the draw in erasing malicious software. Google has repeatedly claimed security threats on its platform are overblown, accusing antivirus companies of playing to these fears in hopes of "scamming" consumers into buying their products.
Further, many smartphone owners are perfectly content with mainstay apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and games like Angry Birds, leaving little room for these security threats to even enter the picture. As Apple itself has found out, no operating system is immune to exploits.