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28.10.2011
Android security 'becoming more and more important'
As Android smartphones are becoming more prevalent and gaining ground in the mobile market, the number of vulnerabilities and attacks on these devices will also increase.

According to Acumin's Ryan Farmer, trends in mobile threats have matched what is being seen at a wider industry level.

In fact, McAfee stated that Android is becoming the most-targeted of all the mobile platforms and it expects this problem to get worse in the future.

The security firm's threats report for the second quarter of 2011 highlighted that there has been a 238 per cent increase in mobile threats, compared to the six months previously.

Are there ways to safeguard against information security threats for Andriods?

Firstly, Mr Farmer stated a number of areas where these devices can be vulnerable, including the installation of applications from unprotected networks and the threat of malware-infected downloads that are available to users. 

Furthermore, third party services, such as Go to Meeting and TeamViewer can provide a direct line into corporate networks and enable information security problems to easily attach to an end point.

On top of this, there are malicious application injections which can result in data protection levels being compromised, and there is also unsecure Wi-Fi vulnerability. 

Mr Farmer noted: "Unprotected Wi-Fi networks apparently came as a surprise to many – it shouldn't have, when is this practice ever safe? Beyond highlighting the need for better consumer security awareness, it leads to some other considerations around secure Wi-Fi access."

AVG recently carried out a report that revealed most Android malware focuses on SMS texts, however, cybercriminals are now using a Trojan that records calls and SMS messages for hackers, who then analyse for potential confidential data.

The organisation stated that clearly these types of threats to mobile operating systems highlight that there are tremendous risks to having unprotected Android devices. 

JR Smith, chief executive of AVG Technologies, said: "It's increasingly evident that each unprotected individual makes us all more vulnerable, so it's vital that as a global society we find ways to address this trend and ensure that we are protected together."

How can people protect Android devices against security threats?

Acumin recently noted that LBE Privacy Guard acts as somewhat of an application firewall to give Android users the ability to block application permissions, helping people keep a security log of every permission request made by an application.

Next, is the Android equivalent of business continuity implementation, where if a device is lost or stolen applications can be used to remotely remove specific content from a smartphone or tablet. 

The idea of these 'trace and wipe' applications is to help protect information security systems and keep mobile data safeguarded in the event of a theft.

On top of this, securing data and encrypting files can help people keep their Android systems protected, and using WhisperCore allows users to protect against data loss even if 'trace and wipe' does not work.

Another security feature, which is a useful failsafe, is Android anti-virus (AV) software.

However, there can problems with the technology regarding "where the AV scans and the apps it covers, including SD cards, SMS, and contacts typically. 

"None of these apps are asking for root access, and therefore they are failing to search for infections on the area of the device that is most targeted and vulnerable," said Mr Farmer.

Recently, McAfee launched its VirusScan Mobile for Android devices, designed to safeguard information security systems from viruses, botnets, Trojan horses and other infections with an easy-to-use programme.

Todd Gebhart, executive vice president of consumer, small business and mobile at the company, said: "With McAfee VirusScan Mobile for Android, users can protect their tablet by scanning and cleaning files, emails, installer packages, downloads, and attachments."

What is evident for the future of Android Security measures, is that there are safeguarding options out there, but these will have to be adapted and updated to deal with the growing number of threats and attacks. 

Posted by Peter TaylorThreats to Android security will increase in the future, it has been claimed.ADNFCR-1355-ID-800778637-ADNFCR



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