With a freer marketplace, the burden is going to need to fall on the user to choose their apps carefully, and there will certainly be an opening for trusted sources to create repositories where only apps that have been certified to be safe will be available for download. We've talked a lot abou the post-PC era, and it's certain that as users flock to new platforms, criminals and mischief-makers will follow. Microsoft has taken the heat for its insecure desktop platform for the past couple of decades, and we've been able to pretty much lay the blame for botnets and phishing at Microsoft's doorstep. It will be interesting to see how these new platforms will fare once they find themselves in the full spotlight, with all the attention of the world's malicious hackers.
About 20 percent of third-party apps available through the Android marketplace allow third-party access to sensitive data, and can do things like make calls and send texts without the owners' knowledge, according to a recent security report from security firm SMobile Systems. There's no indication that any of the highlighted apps is malicious, but the report does underscore the inherent risks of a more open ecosystem as opposed to Apple's oppressive yet more controlled environment, with every app being vetted before availability.